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Grizzlies look to keep young cubs of Philly in check

The Grizzlies grabbed a win Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors, but the game wasn't without its speed bumps. Memphis must be careful to take care of business at home against a hungry Philadelphia team.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
30-12 (17-5 home)
8-35 (5-17 away)
January 24th, 2015
FedexForum in Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Michael Carter-Williams
Courtney Lee SG K.J. McDaniels
Tony Allen SF Robert Covington
Zach Randolph PF Henry Sims
Marc Gasol C Nerlens Noel
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.1 (27th) Pace 98.4 (6th)
105.1 (10th) OEff 91.2 (30th)
102.0 (11th) DEff 103.2 (14th)
50.0 (16th) RebR 47.3 (30th)

Injury Report

Philadelphia 76ers: Jason Richardson (Knee, Out), Joel Embiid (Back, Out), Henry Sims (Ankle, Questionable), Tony Wroten (Knee, Out), Nerlens Noel (Illness, Probable), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Toe, Questionable), Andrei Kirilenko (Suspension)

Memphis Grizzlies: NONE

Recently from Philadelphia

The news broke Friday that Tony Wroten has a partially torn ACL. This is just one of the many injury blows that the 76ers have been dealt this season, as is evident by the injury list above. Philadelphia is in the middle of a four-game losing streak after falling to the Raptors, Knicks, and Wizards this week. The 76ers will be rolling into the Grindhouse on the second night of a back-to-back. The last match between Memphis and Philadelphia was an overtime thriller, but the 76ers were unable to pull out the win, which has been the case for them in numerous games this season. However, one bright spot for the 76ers this season has been Michael Carter-Williams, who is averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 assists per game.

Recently from Memphis

So far, the Grizzlies are 1-1 this week, their lone loss against Dallas and their lone win against Toronto. Offensive struggles have been the trend, which is perhaps partially due to the quick integration of Jeff Green into the rotation. Green started Wednesday night and racked up only 6 points and 2 rebounds in 26 minutes, so it will be interesting to see how the starting wing position shakes out in the next couple of weeks. The news broke on Thursday night that Marc Gasol would be one of the 2015 NBA All-Star starters, which has had Memphis buzzing for the last couple of days. Tonight, the Grizzlies will need to take care of business at home against an athletic but sub .500 Philly team.

Keys to Victory

1. Don't Play Down to the Competition

We all remember the last time these two teams met. Memphis ended up in a giant hole that they had to climb out of. Mike Conley sent the game into overtime with a three pointer, and the Grizzlies pulled the win out in overtime. The Grizzlies, granted, were on the second night of a back-to-back and had just played a double OT game. However, the Grizz can't afford to play down to a young, athletic Philly team. Memphis must come out in the first quarter and show who is the better team. As shown by their last match, the 76ers do not know how to close out games, while Memphis does. Philly sits a game ahead of the New York Knicks at fourteenth in the Eastern Conference. Memphis should come out strong in the first half so the bench can get some play in the second half.

2. Play Your Pace and Force Turnovers

Like I said, this team is young and athletic. In fact, they rank fifth in pace. On the other hand, however, Philadelphia also ranks dead last in offensive efficiency. This is further proven by the fact that they turn the ball over 18.5 times per game. If Memphis can play their pace and force Philly to turn the ball over, then the Grizzlies will have the upper hand in this contest.

3. Have a Productive Night From the Wings

Jeff Green struggled a bit Wednesday night, as did Courtney Lee. If Joerger plans to keep Green in the starting lineup instead of Lee, he's going to need some more production. The two wings combined for only 7 points in the home win. Lee will also need to adjust to his new role coming off the bench. Tonight is as good as any to get adjusted. Memphis has been cold beyond the arc the last couple of games, so it would be a positive sight to see Green and Lee knock down a couple of threes tonight.

Final Call

Unlike the last game between these two teams, this one won't be nearly as close. Memphis will come out prepared, and early defensive intensity will shake the young 76ers team. Philadelphia will have a productive night from Nerlens Noel and Carter-Williams, but it won't be enough. Zach Randolph will own the boards, and Mike Conley will have an efficient shooting night. Memphis will have a much-needed positive night from beyond the arc. The bench will get some playing time in the third and fourth quarters as the Grizz pull away, and Memphis will roll to a 103-85 win over Philadelphia.