On Thursday night in Philadelphia, Ben Simmons recorded a triple-double and Joel Embiid led all scorers with 33 points, but the Los Angeles Lakers claimed the victory in a ideal advertisment for the team's future.
Much of that relative effectiveness stemmed from a top-five defense in the league, as the Lakers allowed only 100.3 points per 100 possessions in the time between the season opener and November 21. Robert Covington chipped in 19 points, and rookie Ben Simmons contributed his third triple-double - 12 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists.
Ingram led the Lakers with 22 points on the night, while Ball put up 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four blocks and three steals with no turnovers in an impressive box score-stuffing performance.
James Harden scored 29 points with five rebounds, and Chris Paul added 18 points with 13 assists and nine rebounds to lead the Rockets to an 112-101 win over the Jazz.
The Lakers have struggled with slow starts of late, but built a 13-point lead in the first quarter behind a 17-4 run that included eight straight points and one reverse baseline dunk from Brandon Ingram.
With four minutes to play, though, the Sixers only trailed by one point after being inspired by Embiid and Simmons.
But the Lakers never fell behind, hanging on to break a losing streak and quiet their, and the Ball family's, dissenters.
In terms of game flow, the Lakers took an early lead and led by as many as 16 points on the night and even held a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Because the Lakers and Sixers played their two regular-season games against each other before the New Year, the National Basketball Association will likely have to wait another year before it gets to see this year's No. 1 and 2 draft picks face each other. Overall, the Lakers' bench outscored the Sixers' bench 41 to 13.
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia 76ers traded Jahlil Okafor on Thursday night.
"I don't care about the money", LaVar Ball said on Thursday. The Sixers have been without G Markelle Fultz the last 20 games because of a shoulder injury, and there is no timetable for his return.