The Memphis Grizzlies have won three out of their last four games coming into the game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers however have won seven of their last eight and have beat the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, among others. The Grizzlies have had a bit of a winning streak lately but that was against some inferior competition; tonight would be a much bigger test for them.
The 76ers started off with some really good ball movement that had the Grizzlies all over the place, really struggling to play defense. Ben Simmons was doing literally anything he wanted, getting to the basket and getting all of his guys open looks from the field. The Grizzlies could not contain the offense from the 76ers. They started off 5-9 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc. The 76ers were playing really good pick and roll defense, containing the driver to the basket and playing good defense on Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies couldn’t really get good looks, which put them down five mid way through the first quarter. After the first timeout of the quarter, it didn’t get much better for the Grizzlies. The 76ers had such good ball movement from side to side that they Grizzlies just couldn’t keep up. They were also getting to every single 50/50 ball the entire first quarter. It put the Grizzlies down by eleven at the end of the first.
The second quarter started with both teams trading shots back and forth, however Philadelphia was scoring three pointers and the Grizzlies were scoring two pointers. The Grizzlies managed to get back to back stops and after a Jarell Martin slam in transition, the 76ers were forced to call a timeout. Ivan Rabb got some more minutes tonight for the Grizzlies and really looked good in the game. He did not look overwhelmed at all, and kept pace with other players on the court. The Grizzlies played better defense, or at least they tried to, but the 76ers were also missing a lot of shots. The Grizzlies started to go to the basket more, getting a few more foul calls and putting themselves in a better spot to score the basketball. They were really struggling from three, shooting 2-9 up to this point in the game. Even after better defense and trying to get more efficient shots, they were still down seven points with just under four minutes left to go in the half. The Grizzlies got several stops in a row, one resulting in a huge dunk by Wayne Selden.
The Grizzlies were definitely playing with more energy on both sides of the court, trying to get more deflections on the defensive end and get to the basket on the offense. The half ended with a Tyreke Evans buzzer beater, that they later ruled not good and the 76ers lead 55-49.
The 76ers cam out from halftime picking up right where they left off, hit another three pointer. At this point in the game, they were shooting sixty percent from behind the arc. After that, both teams really struggled on offense, missing quite a bit of shots. The Grizzlies had only scored five points in the first five minutes of the third quarter and after another three pointer by Philadelphia, they were forced to call a timeout. Wayne Selden had another vicious dunk on Justin Anderson, but was called for a technical foul after saying something to him after the play. This was his second technical foul, so he was automatically ejected. Justin Anderson was assessed a flagrant one foul, so the Grizzlies shot two free throws and got the ball back.
The Grizzlies were able to capitalize on the two extra possessions and got the lead to single digits. The continued to play hard on defense, but with a lineup of all young guys who were not always on the same page, they had quite a few turnovers. Mike Henry played tonight for the Grizzlies and was able to get on the board late in the third quarter with a three to beat the shot clock. The Grizzlies were able to get a steal and Mario Chalmers got fouled on the last possession, making two free throws to pull the Grizzlies within nine at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with some good defense and a few bad shots, but Myke Henry had a huge dunk off of an offensive rebound. Mario Chalmers then proceeded to drain a three getting the Grizzlies within six points. Myke Henry hit another two huge threes in back to back possessions. He was the only one shooting well from behind the arc for the Grizzlies tonight. At one point they only had eight threes, and Henry had three of them. Tyreke Evans had a big and one to get the Grizzlies within three and the next possession Evans hit a step back three to tie the game mid way through the fourth quarter.
The 76ers offense completely vanished late in the fourth quarter and after committing their 21st and 22nd turnovers in a row, they were struggling. Marc Gasol was able to give the Grizzlies a two point lead, and Tyreke Evans followed it up with a three to make it a five point lead. The Grizzlies did not score for three straight possessions and after a Philadelphia three pointer, they turned the ball over. The 76ers were able to get a foul call but could not make either free throw. After two made free throws by Jarell Martin, the Grizzlies were up four with less than a minute to go. Philadelphia missed two chances to score at the end of the game, but could not do it and the Grizzlies got another win beating them 105-101.