Holiday leads Sixers over Lakers 103-99
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers demonstrated how much of an advantage youth and fresher legs can be sometimes against a team of veteran All-Stars.
Jrue Holiday had 26 points and 10 assists, Evan Turner added 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the 76ers rang in the new year with a 103-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
"I think they had all their star power out there, but we came out and played, and really played together," Holiday said. "It feels awesome. This is actually my first win against the Lakers, so I can't start off the New Year a better way."
Kobe Bryant, who shifted from shooting guard to small forward five games ago in coach Mike D'Antoni's redesigned rotation, led Los Angeles with 36 points.
The Lakers (15-16) have matched their worst start after 31 games since the 2002-03 season, when they began defense of their third straight NBA title with a 12-19 record. They are 10th in the Western Conference, 1 1-2 games out of a playoff spot — a revolting development for a team that missed the postseason only twice times in the previous 36 years and not since 2005.
"It's frustrating," said point guard Steve Nash, who had 12 points and 10 assists. "We're in a tough position and we really have a lot of ground to make up. We're not finding the answers right now. So many situations just seem new, and I think we're struggling to find that little bit of connectivity that makes a team a team."
The Lakers, who tied a franchise record with 10 3-pointers in the first half of their 111-98 win at Philadelphia on Dec. 16, were 1 for 11 from 3-point range before intermission in the rematch and finished 3 for 22 from behind the arc.
Their next game is Friday night against the Clippers, whose franchise-record 17-game winning streak ended in Denver a couple hours earlier. But when D'Antoni was asked a couple hours before Tuesday's contest if there was a danger of his team looking past the 76ers to the next one, he said the Lakers weren't good enough to look past anyone.
"We didn't look past them. I mean, you just saw an old team," Bryant said. "I don't know how else to put it. We're just slow, and they're a team that's younger with fresher legs and played with more energy. We were just stuck in the mud. And as individuals, we all have to figure out how to get ourselves ready each and every game to have a high-level game. That's a big thing when you're starting to age. It's tough, and it takes a lot of commitment."
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