Originally written on Purple and Gold Blog  |  Last updated 11/18/14


The Lakers (14-10) will try to get their second win in this 6-game roadie against the Philadelphia 76ers (17-7) but they will have to do it without their head coach. Mike Brown was suspended by the NBA for tonight's game for bumping referee Zach Zarba in his protest for what he believed is a non-call on Earl Watson as he stripped Pau Gasol of the ball during Saturday's loss in Utah. Assistant coach John Keuster is slated to take Brown's place.

Despite the team's Jekyll and Hyde personality this season, Kobe Bryant still thinks the Lakers are going to be title contenders come playoff time. That may be a possibility but that won't happen unless the core takes it upon themselves to show what it takes to win it all every single game. By doing that, there's a great chance that the entire team will develop a gritty yet fluid identity necessary to be that contender Kobe is talking about.

With already 24 games out of 66 total in the record book, time is fast becoming a commodity the Lakers won't have.

After 2 frustrating years under Doug Collins, the 76ers are showing signs of life this season by capturing first place in the Atlantic Division and third in the east overall. Much of that success come from their surprising defense that happens to be tops in the league allowing just 86.5 points per game.

The Lakers are putting up 93.3 (19th) points per game and have only reached at least 100 only 3 times so far. Need less to say, they better make their shots consistently tonight or this game could turn out another ugly one for them.

Lou Williams leads Philly in points (15.1 PPG) with Andrew Igoudala at the top of the steals (1.8 SPG) and in assists (5.2 APG) and Spencer Hawes their block expert (1.6 BPG) and best rebounder (8.5 RPG).

With Brown absent, Kobe, Gasol and Andrew Bynum need to raise their level of play and make sure the team plays the game the way Brown would want them to — with energy, toughness and smarts. In fact, that's also how Laker fans want them to play every minute of the game. We'll see how the Lakers take on that challenge tonight.

The 76ers are coming off of an 11-point victory in Atlanta and are 4-1 overall in their last 5 games. They have a record of 12-3 at home.

The purple and gold are also 3-5 in their last 5 games but are a disappointing 3-8 away from home. However, the Lakers have taken the last 2 season series against the 76ers and haven't lost in Philadelphia since 2009.

Matchup of the Game

Kobe Bryant vs. Andre Igoudala: They play different positions but it's hard to think that Collins will allow Jodie Meeks defend Bryant unless he puts Thaddeus Young in the starting lineup. But no matter who eventually guards him, Kobe will need to be patient but aggressive on offense since he should see plenty of doubles and challenged shots tonight. Surpassing 'ol buddy Shaquille O'Neal as the NBA's 5th all-time leading scorer by getting at least 24 points shouldn't be his priority unless the rest of the team sleeps on offense again.

Keys for the Lakers

1. Offense: Facing the best defense require lots of ball movement, crisp passing, and aggressiveness on offense. The Lakers must work inside-out to pressure Philly from stopping their post-players first before they can even worry about Bryant around the perimeter.

2. Role Players: Whether it's Metta World Peace, Derek Fisher or the entire bench, someone else need to have a big game other than the Big 3 to carve out a win.

3. Boards: Whether it's crashing the boards or doing the fundamentals around the basket, the Lakers cannot allow the opposition to win the battle in the glass on both sides of the floor. But this doesn't apply to just Pau and Andrew.

Game Info

@ Philadelphia 76ers
Tonight at 4:00 p.m. (PST)
TV: KCAL (Los Angeles)
Radio: 710/1330 AM ESPN 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Wilson on contract: 'It's going to work out'

Kentucky seeks one kind of history, Coach K makes another

Matt Stafford's fiancee rips newspaper over article

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Frozen Four: Providence earns first bid since 1985

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket

Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Final Four preview: How can every team win?

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

Five soon-to-be NBA free agents with a lot on the line

WATCH: Russell Wilson hits home run during Rangers BP

Hooked 'em: Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sportswriter get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.