The Philadelphia 76ers were rarely a match for the Los Angeles Lakers in the past. But on Feb. 7, the Sixers stood at least half a chance against a Lakers team having its worst season in decades. Yet while the Lakers are a shell of their former selves, the Sixers made them look good and gave Steve Nash a perfect 40'th birthday present in a 112-98 loss.
Nash is one of the few players left on the Lakers that most have heard of, although his MVP days are well behind him -- just like Los Angeles's championship worthy days are well behind it. Nevertheless, Nash celebrated his 40'th birthday in Philadelphia by leading all scorers with a season-high 19 points.
The Sixers had started more promisingly by racking up 35 first quarter points. However, the Lakers then got 35 second quarter points of their own, closing their deficit to three by halftime. Los Angeles went on to take the lead in the third, yet Philadelphia closed the quarter with Tony Wroten sinking a shot beyond half court for the second straight game.
That was the last highlight the Sixers could muster, as the Lakers held them to 13 fourth-quarter points. By the end, Nash was one of six Los Angeles players to reach double figures, as they didn't need Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol to lift them on this night.
The Sixers dropped to 15-36 with their fifth straight loss, yet the Lakers still aren't that much better after improving to 18-32. Philadelphia was expected to tank this season and get its rebuilding process in full swing with next year's draft, but Los Angeles put off rebuilding as long as it could. However, the Lakers will turn to next summer's free agent class to jump start their revival.
By next season, Nash may finally have to retire, or at least find a new team for one last season. If his final days as a player and/or as a Laker are ahead, the Sixers became a part of one of his last career highlights -- and one of the rare highlights for Los Angeles in recent months.