Preview: Lakers return home against the depleted 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 25, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers ended their most recent road trip on a high note, beating the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114 behind another duel between LeBron James and Zion Williamson. They’ll now return home for six straight games in Staples Center, being kicked off with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.

76ers will be without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

Unless Anthony Davis misses his second-straight game or if LeBron James misses another game after his absence in the recent game against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers should be coming into this one at nearly full strength. The same can’t even be close to being said for the Philadelphia 76ers, who will be playing for the fourth straight game without their two superstars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons hasn’t played since February 22nd, missing the past four games as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted that Simmons will be re-evaluated in two weeks with a nerve impingement in his lower back. Back injuries are no joke but hopefully, Simmons will be able to return for a playoff run.

Right after that, things went from bad to worse for the 76ers as Joel Embiid had to leave February 26th’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a shoulder sprain injury. Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN reported that Embiid will be re-evaluated in a week and the 76ers will just have to soldier on without them for at least that amount of time.

LeBron James cannot be stopped

Things won’t be looking good for the 76ers in this one without their two superstars, as they still might not have a chance with Embiid and Simmons both playing given the way that LeBron James has played following the All-Star break.

In his five games since the break, The King has averaged 30.8 points, 9.0 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game. He just recently had what was arguably his two best games of the year, with both coming against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. The better of the two games came two days ago, where LeBron James was +22 with 34 points (14-of-21 from the field), 13 assists, 12 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Don’t be surprised if he has another huge game like that in this one. Ben Simmons won’t be around on defense to give him problems, while Anthony Davis may be dealing with the tough matchup of having to go against Al Horford for most of the time. Because of that, we may end up seeing another 30+ point triple-double from LeBron.

Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. PST.

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