Lakers see too much Green in loss to 76ers

LOS ANGELES, CA – Danny Green was an instrumental part of the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA title last season. The Lakers championship was Green’s third in his career. For his efforts, Green was traded away to the Oklahoma City Thunder this past November for guard Dennis Schroder.

In his return to STAPLES Center to play against his former team, Green, now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, left another impression on the Lakers, and that is that 3-point stroke that Los Angeles rode all the way to beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, still works pretty well.

So after picking up the championship ring that he won last season, along with center Dwight Howard, Green connected on eight 3-pointers to score a game-high 28 points to lead Philadelphia to a 109-101 win. Green scored nine of his 28 points in the third quarter when the Sixers blitzed the Lakers, 35-17. And that was pretty much the ballgame right there.

At one point in the third quarter, Green and the Sixers held an 18-point lead. But without the services of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers made a run in the fourth period. With 51 seconds left in the game, the Lakers had cut Philadelphia’s lead to three points.

But Green, ever-present behind the 3-point line, threw up one more shot behind the arc over the defense of Kyle Kuzma. Of course, the basketball swished through the net. Green’s shot effectively ended the Lakers’ gallant comeback try. The Lakers matchup against Philadelphia was the first of a four-game homestand the team has against Eastern Conference teams before they hit the road on April 2 to play the Sacramento Kings.

Besides playing Philadelphia, the Lakers have Cleveland, the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks to entertain at STAPLES Center until March 31. The Lakers schedule might allow for a reprieve for the team to pick up a couple of wins. They need them right about now. Since James went down with a reportedly high ankle sprain injury against the Atlanta Hawks on March 20, the Lakers have dropped their last four games.

But a ray of sunshine for the Lakers is on the way. Both Cleveland and Orlando are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference when it comes to wins and losses. The Lakers can also take heart that they played Philadelphia, the best team in the Eastern Conference, down to the wire without the services of their two All-Stars.

The game got off to a weird start with Howard being ejected after the first quarter had concluded. Howard and Montrezl Harrell, the man who replaced him on the Lakers roster, got into some sort of verbal and physical spat. Not letting things get out of hand, the referees gave Howard the boot. Kuzma led the Lakers with 25 points. Harrell finished the game with 20 points.

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