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Lakers may be past rock bottom

December 17, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Dwight Howard shoots over Sixers big man Kwame Brown
Dwight Howard shoots over Sixers big man Kwame Brown (Michael Perez / Associated…)

The Lakers got a relatively easy win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, improving to 11-14 with two straight road victories.

The Sixers have done well this year considering Andrew Bynum, dealing with knee problems, has yet to suit up. Philadelphia has also gotten a taste of the Lakers' troubles by losing Jrue Holiday to a foot injury.

Holiday isn't expected to be out long, but the Sixers' three-game losing streak shows it's not exactly a simple thing to play in the NBA without a starting point guard and big man.

The Lakers have been forced to play through injuries to Steve Nash (leg), Pau Gasol (knees), Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) and now Jordan Hill (back spasms).

Coach Mike D'Antoni has found experimental lineups that have gotten results, although against lighter competition.

Devin Ebanks got the start alongside Metta World Peace on Sunday. It's difficult to say who exactly was at power and who was small forward.

Darius Morris gave the best half of his career, scoring 15 points before the end of the second quarter. Morris overcame a tweaked ankle to play in the second half but not especially effectively.

Rookie Robert Sacre covered for six minutes behind Dwight Howard, holding his own with a +/- of +2.  Surprisingly, Antawn Jamison's production has tailed off considerably in recent games.

Instead, Jodie Meeks has become the more-dependable reserve.  Against his former team, Meeks scored 12 points and grabbed four steals.

Considering how desolate the road had become after four straight losses, the Lakers have found areas of strength. Now Gasol appears to be ready to return, with Nash, in theory, soon after.

The Lakers may have reached their lowest point of the season and now, with 57 games left, the team has a lot to play for.

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Lakers top Sixers, 111-98, for second straight road win

Next year's luxury tax could lead Lakers to make moves this season

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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