LOS ANGELES – The start of a five-game, western road trip holds critical ramifications to the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff aspirations.
Sixers forward Andre Iguodala got the trip off to a rip roaring start by sinking a 3-pointer at the final buzzer, to catapult Philadelphia over the Lakers.
The Lakers had a foul to give in the final seconds but Trevor Ariza, who was guarding Iguodala, chose to play straight up defense on the pivotal last possession. Iguodala’s shot from straight away, beyond the arc, was lofted over Ariza’s outstretched hand.
Iguodala’s buzzer-beater snatched the hero’s hat off the head of Kobe Bryant, who with 6.6 seconds left, gave the Lakers the lead with a jump shot. Up to that moment, Bryant had missed his previous five shots in the quarter.
But Iguodala helped Philadelphia finish off a dramatic comeback. The Sixers trailed by 14 points in the third quarter before surging back to seize the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers enjoyed one of their better shooting halves in the first two quarters, when they converted 58.8 percent of their field-goal tries. Philadelphia only shot 39.6 percent from the field.
Yet, the game was deadlocked 50-all at halftime because the Lakers committed 11 turnovers that led to 11 Sixer points, Philadelphia made 11 of 13 free-throw tries and the Sixers were ferocious on the offensive glass.