Lakers vs. 76ers takeaways: Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons shine in thrilling win over LeBron and Co.

We've reached the quarter mark of the NBA season, and it's no surprise to see the Los Angeles Lakers sit atop the Western Conference. What few expected, however, was to see the Philadelphia 76ers in first place in the East. Led by new coach Doc Rivers, Philly has clicked on all cylinders so far and vaulted to the top of the standings as a result. While there is still plenty of basketball left to be played before we have any idea what the postseason picture will look like, it was the 76ers that got the best of the Lakers in what some considered to be a potential Finals preview on Wednesday night. 

The 76ers have been the class of the East to this point behind Joel Embiid's MVP-caliber season and he put up impressive numbers once again against Los Angeles finishing the 107-106 victory with 28 points and six rebounds. He had plenty of help however as it was Tobias Harris who came up clutch hitting the game-winning jumper with just seconds remaining to give him 24 points on the night. Ben Simmons also chipped in a triple-double of his own. Philadelphia has now won four of its past five games and continue its streak of lights-out play at the Wells Fargo Center (10-0). 

Unfortunately, that means that the Lakers' impressive run of going a perfect 10-0 on the road has come to an end. Led by their own MVP, LeBron James put together another great night finishing with 34 points, six rebounds and six assists but in the end it wasn't enough to slow down a Sixers team that jumped out to an early lead and closed the door on the Lakers in the fourth quarter after Los Angeles tried to rally late.

Here are three key takeaways from the game:

1. Harris rescues Sixers, keeps up hot streak

With exactly six minutes left, Danny Green scored inside off a feed from Ben Simmons to give the Sixers a 14-point lead, and it seemed like they were on track to cruise to an impressive win over the defending champions. Only they completely stalled out after that point. 

In fact, after a bucket by Anthony Davis, they were down by one with 11 seconds to play. That's when Tobias Harris stepped up. The Sixers ran a little pick-and-roll with Harris and Seth Curry, and after the Lakers switched Harris had the mismatch with Alex Caruso. 

He drove left, created a little space and drained the jumper to save the Sixers. Harris finished with 24 rebounds and seven rebounds on the night to continue a red-hot January. He's putting up 20.8 points and shooting 53.9 percent from the field this month, which is one of his best stretches in a Sixers uniform. 

2. Tough fall for Embiid

On Monday, Joel Embiid sat out of the Sixers' loss to the Detroit Pistons due to back tightness, which has been a nagging issue for him, both this season and at various points earlier in his career. He didn't seem to be too hampered early in the game, however, scoring 13 points in the first quarter.

But during the middle of the third quarter, he was on the receiving end of a flagrant foul from LeBron James. The Lakers star put two hands on Embiid while he was in mid air, which caused the big man to lose his balance. Unable to brace himself, Embiid crashed hard to the deck, landing right on his back.

He eventually checked back in but was sporting a giant wrap on his back when he left the bench, and only scored six points the rest of the night. Hopefully, it will just be painful bruising rather than anything major, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward, especially given Embiid's injury history. 

3. Lakers' supporting cast absent

One of the major reasons for the Lakers' success this season is that they have such a deep team, and don't have to rely on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to dominate every single night. Coming into Wednesday night's game, their bench was fifth in the NBA in scoring at 38.8 points per game, and they often go 11 deep in their rotation. 

This game, though, was the LeBron and A.D. show. Those two combined for over half of the Lakers' points, scoring 57 on 21-of-40 from the field. Most nights that's a recipe for success, but the help wasn't there this time -- at least not for most of the game. 

While the Lakers' supporting cast did start to step up in the fourth quarter, it ultimately proved too little, too late. Dennis Schroder and Alex Caruso were the only other Lakers in double figures, and the entire bench combined for just 22 points. 

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WED 7:30 P
ESPN
PHI , O/U 222.5

Season Leaders

points
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L. James 25.8 PTS, 7.8 AST, 8.0 REB
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L. James 25.8 PTS, 7.8 AST, 8.0 REB
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J. Embiid 30.2 PTS, 3.3 AST, 11.6 REB
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J. Embiid 30.2 PTS, 3.3 AST, 11.6 REB
assists
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L. James 25.8 PTS, 7.8 AST, 8.0 REB
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L. James 25.8 PTS, 7.8 AST, 8.0 REB
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B. Simmons 16.1 PTS, 7.6 AST, 7.9 REB
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B. Simmons 16.1 PTS, 7.6 AST, 7.9 REB
rebounds
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A. Davis 22.5 PTS, 3.0 AST, 8.4 REB
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A. Davis 22.5 PTS, 3.0 AST, 8.4 REB
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J. Embiid 30.2 PTS, 3.3 AST, 11.6 REB
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J. Embiid 30.2 PTS, 3.3 AST, 11.6 REB
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@sixers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 5:11 AM
@sixers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 4:01 AM
@sixers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:51 AM

pretty crazy ending as the sixers blew a 14 point fourth quarter lead and needed some tobias harris heroics to bail them out. embiid with 28 points, harris with 24 and simmons gets a triple double. lebron and ad combined for 57 but not enough from lakers' supporting cast

January 28, 2021, 3:26 AM
@sixers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:23 AM

tobias harris for the win! he hits the pull up jumper and the sixers escape with a 107-106 lead

January 28, 2021, 3:23 AM

ad for the lead! wow that was way too easy. lakers 107-sixers 106 with 20 seconds left

January 28, 2021, 3:21 AM
@Lakers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:21 AM
@Lakers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:20 AM

and lakers get another stop. sixers have completely stalled out. lakers have the ball down 1 and take a timeout

January 28, 2021, 3:19 AM
@Lakers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:18 AM

kcp for 3! it's a 1 point game with 1 min left

January 28, 2021, 3:18 AM

oof tough offensive foul call on embiid

January 28, 2021, 3:18 AM

wow dennis schroder from 3 and its a 4 point game! lakers just keep hanging around

January 28, 2021, 3:15 AM
@sixers via Twitter
January 28, 2021, 3:10 AM

simmons with the dish to green on the break and he has a triple double

January 28, 2021, 3:07 AM

sixers haven't been able to put the lakers away just yet but they've held them at an arm's length all night

January 28, 2021, 3:05 AM

lakers have missed four straight free throws. could be huge as they try to make this comeback

January 28, 2021, 3:02 AM
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