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Game Preview: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Philadelphia 76ers

With just four games left for the Grizzlies to squeeze into the playoffs, the lowly 76ers are visiting town at the right time.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
2013/2014 NBA Season
46-32 (25-14 home)
Won 1
17-61 (8-30 road)
Lost 2
April 11th, 2014
FedexForum in Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportsSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Michael Carter-Williams
Courtney Lee SG James Anderson
James Johnson SF Thaddeus Young
Zach Randolph PF Hollis Thompson
Marc Gasol C Henry Sims
2013/14 Advanced Stats
92.18 (30th) Pace 101.70 (1st)
103.0 (17th) OEff 96.5 (30th)
102.3 (9th) DEff 107.5 (27th)

Line: Memphis by 15: O/U: 199

Opponent's Blog: Liberty Ballers

Injury Report: Memphis: Tayshaun Prince - Out (Ankle); Quincy Pondexter - Out (Foot); Philadelphia: Jason Richardson - Out (Knee); Nerlens Noel - Out (Knee)

Memphis Grizzlies Tickets

Control the Pace

The Grizzlies and 76ers are quite literally polar opposites when it comes to pace. A youthful Philadelphia squad lacking identity works at the fastest pace in the NBA, whereas the Grizzlies are of course the slowest team in the league. Given the 76ers talent deficiency, the Grizzlies could likely get away with playing this game at Philly's pace, but it isn't advisable. Playing at a slower pace will help this tired Grizzlies team conserve maximum energy for what are sure to be much tougher, upcoming contests. Memphis should be able to impose their will on the 76ers, and that begins with the pace of play.

Exploit the Post

The 76ers are dreadful in most defensive categories, including against post-ups. They really don't have anybody down low that can hang with either Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol. Joerger will surely recognize this and attempt to create advantageous situations for his big men down low early and often. Don't be surprised if we see a lot of that Hi-Lo that has worked so well for the Grizzlies over the past couple seasons.

Blow 'Em Out Early

This key to the game is not about pride. Yes, the Grizzlies should beat the 76ers, and it will be embarrassing if the result is even remotely close. However, if Memphis takes a massive lead early, that will give guys that are mentally and physically spent time to rest up for the most crucial games of the season that are to follow. If the Grizzlies are able to sneak into the playoffs, they will inevitably be tired from the stress this late-season playoff push has put on them. They'll take all the rest they can get right now. They sure need it.

Final Prediction

Philadelphia is horrible on both sides of the ball, giving Memphis a great advantage. If the Grizzlies don't pull away early in this one, it will be a bit of a head-scratcher. It will be interesting to see how Joerger continues to handle the lineup with Tayshaun Prince currently sidelined with injury. Maybe James Johnson has a great game and makes Joerger think more about inserting someone other than Prince into the starting lineup permanently. It's unlikely, but Grizzlies fans need specific things to watch for and focus on in a game against the 76ers if they are to last all 48 minutes.

Final Score: Memphis 104, Philadelphia 88