– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
PHILADELPHIA — Los Angeles Lakers team president Magic Johnson was in familiar environs on Sunday, having played three separate NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1980s, as he was on hand to see if the current iteration of Showtime could produce some of the championship magic he conjured up in the City of Brotherly Love.
Earvin saw some magic alright, and he let it be known that there was a championship-caliber squad that he took a gander at, but it did not reside with the purple and gold.
Making like Moses Malone, one of Magic’s nemeses in those Lakers-Sixers championship clashes, Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid dominated inside to the tune of 37 points and 14 rebounds while newcomer Tobias Harris, playing in his second game as a Sixer, shined once more with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists as the 76ers made a statement that reverberated throughout the league with a 143-120 victory over the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers in a nationally-television contest on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
Earlier in the week, the next phase of “The Process” took shape in Philadelphia, as the Sixers acquired Harris, as well as key reserves Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott, from the Los Angeles Clippers, stating their clear intention that the franchise is officially going for broke and wanting a championship this year. On Sunday, the Sixers scored at least 33 points in each quarter, made almost 58 percent of their shots from the field and had a lead as much as 26 against the Lakers.
Maybe it is a good thing that LeBron got out of the Eastern Conference this past offseason, given that juggernaut that the 76ers look like they have morphed into. LeBron’s boss certainly is impressed.
“The East better watch out,” Johnson said after the game while in Philadelphia to watch the contest. “This is a stacked team.”