Game Preview: Grizzlies vs. 76ers

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The Memphis Grizzlies left home Friday night after a heart stopping 113-107 double overtime win at Fed Ex Forum against the Charlotte Hornets to head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to play the now 2-20 Philadelphia 76ers.  The 76ers will also be playing a back to back game after their 88-70 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in the Barclays Center Friday night.  The Grizzlies have enjoyed a 4 game home stand that resulted in 3 wins and 1 loss, and they are looking to capture yet another win against the team that currently holds the league’s worst record.  The 76ers should not be underestimated though, despite the fact that neither of their wins this season has been at the Wells Fargo Center.

The 76ers enter this game as a team with nothing to lose.  They are currently 0-11 at home this season.  Additionally, they haven’t been successful in beating the Grizzlies at home since February 11, 2009.  Grizzlies enter the Wells Fargo Center 7-3 on the road with one of their losses coming on the second night of a back to back against another Eastern Conference team, the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Grizzlies are averaging 101 points per game and the league’s defensive leader is holding their opponents to an average of 94 points.  Meanwhile, the 76ers are only scoring an average of 91 points per game and allowing their opponents to score an average of 104 points.

Team Leaders

MVP Contender Marc Gasol is leading the Grizzlies in points with an average of 19.5 per game.  Former Grizzlies guard Tony Wroten is leading the 76ers with an average of 17.9 points per game.  Zach Randolph is leading the Grizzlies in rebounds with an average of 11 per game, while guard Michael Carter-Williams is leading the 76ers with 7.3 per game.  Mike Conley is averaging 6.1 assists to Michael Carter-Williams’ average of 7.5.  Given the back to back game factor, the leaders may not be the leaders for this particular game.  With the Grizzlies playing a very tough double overtime to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, their core may be dependent upon the bench stepping up and showing out.  Carter-Williams played just over 38 minutes against the Nets, and Wroten only played a little under 22 minutes.  Conley and Randolph both played over 40 minutes, and Gasol played right at 37 minutes on Friday.

Things to consider

On Friday, the 76ers announced that they were calling up Ronald Roberts from their NBA Development League affiliate Delaware 87ers.  Roberts is a forward averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds and shooting 67% from the floor.  He played on the 76ers roster during the preseason, and he has been the team leader for the 87ers this season.  Though the Grizzlies are certainly a better team defensively, both teams are averaging about the same amount of rebounds per game.  Having Roberts on the floor could certainly help the 76ers more than it hinders them especially as it relates to offensive boards and second chance opportunities.  Incidentally, Roberts did not play in the game against the Nets on Friday.

The 76ers had a tough time on Friday with points in the paint going 9 for 33.  The Grizzlies are one of the league’s most dominant forces in the paint and can easily intimidate teams at the rim.  Conversely,although they only hit about 30% of them, the 76ers aren’t shy about taking 3 point shots.  Defensively, the Grizzlies haven’t done a very good job defending the 3 point line in recent match-ups.  It’s important that they watch how they handle this tonight.  The 76ers have lingered close to some tough teams, and allowing three point shots could allow them to linger close to the Grizzlies.  Free throws could also come into play should this become a close game.  Grizzlies are shooting under 80% from the stripe, but the 76ers are shooting under 70%.

All in all most would agree that the Grizzlies should come out on top fairly easily in this game against a struggling 76ers team, but nothing can be left to chance especially given the tough week that they have ahead against some of the league’s best.  The Grizzlies have got to take care of this game from start to finish and secure a win against the league’s team with the most losses and come home and prepare for a nationally televised game against the league’s team with the most wins on Tuesday.

Locally you can catch the game this evening at 6:30 p.m. on SportsSouth or listen to the coverage on the radio on 92.9FM.  Those outside the local area can take advantage of the free trial period being offered by NBA League Pass for this weekend only.


Carmen Patton
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