WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, knee), Ja Morant (Questionable, ankle), Jontay Porter (Out, knee), Killian Tillie (Out, hamstring), Justise Winslow (Out, hip)
PHILADELPHIA: Ben Simmons (Probable, Knee), Joel Embiid (Out,Knee), Seth Curry (Questionable, Medical Protocols), Furkan Korkmaz (Out, Groin) Mike Scott (Out, Knee) Vincent Poirier (Out, Medical Protocols)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Brandon Clarke, Jonas Valanciunas
PHILADELPHIA: Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Dwight Howard
The Memphis Grizzlies will host the Philadelphia 76ers this evening, after last night’s affair with the Minnesota Timberwolves was postponed due to a COVID outbreak amongst the Wolves roster. This is something to monitor, as Karl Anthony Towns tested positive on Friday and based on the incubation period, Jonas Valanciunas is very much a possibility as a close contact.
Rather than facing Philly on the second night of a back-to-back at full strength, Memphis will now catch the Sixers with two days rest and possibly the return of star Ja Morant. The Sixers will be without Joel Embiid and Seth Curry while Ben Simmons is probable but not a guarantee to suit up. This roster is no slouch without their two All-Stars so it will not be a gimme, but the Grizz may have found fortune again on their schedule when it comes to certain players playing in the game for the opponent.
For the Grizzlies to really break out of their home slump and extend their winning streak to four games, here are some things to watch for:
The Return of Ja Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies officially listed Ja Morant as questionable for the Friday night tilt in Minnesota, so he would most certainly have the same designation heading into tonight's match against the 76ers. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they hold him to return on national TV Monday for the MLK game, but that game is in danger of a postponement due to an outbreak amongst the Suns roster.
Were Ja to make his return tonight and Ben Simmons to miss, the Grizzlies should be the betting favorites for this game. A Morant-Simmons matchup would be primetime basketball on a Saturday — a League Pass must watch.
With an extensive injury list for the Sixers, this game will be won by the bench that is able to run away with the game. A Morant return would give the Grizzlies bench unit a huge boost as they regain Tyus Jones in their lineup. The Sixers second unit would look something like this:
Shake Milton, Isaiah Joe, Matisse Thybulle, Paul Reed and Tony Bradley.
Milton is very good and could present a problem, but if he can be limited, the Memphis bench should handle this very young group of players for Philly. Grayson Allen reappeared against Minnesota this week, and Xavier Tillman continues to thrive. The Memphis depth will be a major key to victory tonight.
Ja Morant will wait it out one more game while Ben Simmons comes back just in time for Philly as Embiid goes down for a bit. A three-man lineup of Simmons-Harris-Howard could prove too much to handle for Memphis. Danny Green might have found his stroke recently, while Maxey and Joe have been quite impressive as rookies.
The Grizzlies bench will keep them around into the third quarter, but Philly will pull away.
Final Score: Philly 116 - Memphis 104