LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shortly before halftime, six-foot-10 Anthony Davis coolly dropped a crossover dribble and a Eurostep layup on the 76ers.
And then shortly after halftime, 35-year-old LeBron James walked the ball upcourt and casually drilled a three-pointer from the “R” inside the Lakers’ half-court logo.
The superstar duo had another full night of doing things that blow people’s minds.
Against an undermanned but lively Sixers lineup, Los Angeles needed most of that magic to win again.
Davis scored 18 of his 37 points during a phenomenal second-quarter surge, and the Lakers held off injury-depleted Philadelphia 120-107 on Tuesday night.
James had 22 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who moved to 47-13 with their ninth win in 10 games. His 40-footer was a stylish flourish on an entertaining all-around game from the Lakers’ two All-Stars, and it came at the end of a 44-10 run in roughly 10 minutes spanning halftime.
“That was a great stretch for our team, for our season,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “To see us be able to take over a game like that was a positive sign.”
James and Davis had to carry them past the Sixers, who played without injured starters Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson. To James, the Lakers can learn from their slow start and big surge as they prepare to make a run at a championship in several weeks.
“We’ve lost to teams that were missing starters this year, but everyone here is an NBA player,” James said. “We all got here for a reason, so you don’t ever disrespect that. You don’t ever disrespect the game. They’re a very good team no matter what.”
Davis hit four three-pointers while grabbing 13 rebounds and going 13 of 19 from the field, with no basket prettier than his crossover to ditch Al Horford. He made all seven of his shots in the second quarter while the Lakers played some of their prettiest basketball of the year.
“I started off really slow and missed some shots that were wide open,” Davis said. “I was just trying to figure out how I could get myself going. Once one of us got it going, it got contagious until all of us got going.”
Glenn Robinson III matched his career high with 25 points and Tobias Harris had 18 for the Sixers, who have lost nine consecutive road games since January 20.
Philadelphia lost twice at Staples Center to start its four-game California road trip despite this persistent effort against the power-house Lakers.
Philly’s role players and backups got off to an impressive start, taking an early 13-point lead. That’s when Davis took control with a dazzling quarter that included three three-pointers. The Lakers made 17 of their 19 shots at one point.
“Obviously we played two really good teams here,” Harris said. “I felt like we had a good start, and then that second quarter hurt us. I think where the game really slipped was they picked up their defensive intensity, and from there it rushed us.”