WHEN: 6:00 P.M. CST
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis: Jaren Jackson Jr., (LT Knee Meniscus Surgery Recovery, OUT) Justise Winslow (RT Thigh Soreness, OUT)
Philadelphia: George Hill (Thumb, OUT)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
Memphis: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
Philadelphia: Seth Curry, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid
The Grizzlies could steal one on the road...
The Memphis Grizzlies travel to Philadelphia to take on the scorching 76ers. Winners of eight straight home games, and sitting at 20-4 at Wells Fargo Center this season, the Sixers won’t be an easy task for the young Grizzlies to say the least. Fortunately for Memphis, Sixers Center Joel Embiid could miss their second game of a back-to-back, while he eases himself back into game shape following a scary knee injury weeks ago.
Embiid returned last night as the Sixers stretched their home winning streak to eight, as they took down the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-113 at Wells Fargo Center. Embiid only played 28 minutes, but scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Philadelphia.
For the Grizzlies, this team starts a four-game East Coast road trip starting tonight in Philadelphia. Sitting one game back of the eighth seeded San Antonio Spurs, the Grizzlies have to handle business tonight against the Sixers as they continue their push for the play-in tournament. How do the Grizzlies take down the red hot Sixers at home?
Guarding the Sixers wings:
Shake Milton to be exact. Milton dropped 28 points off the bench for the Sixers on January 16th at FedEx Forum. It was a matchup that the Grizzlies (barely) escaped with, as Ja Morant carried the Grizzlies past the finish line 106-104.
Back to the perimeter defense, the Grizzlies wings will have to attack the off-ball screens that the Sixers big men set so well to get their shooters open. The Sixers offense is just really good at moving the ball, and finding the best shots possible on each possession.
In fact, both teams shot below 30% from three in the January 16th matchup at FedEx Forum. However, both teams shot the ball well overall from the field shooting right at 44%. The Grizzlies and Sixers sit in the top-tier in the NBA in defensive net rating, and both also sit in the bottom half of the NBA in three-point attempts per game.
We know that the Grizzlies have the third best bench unit in the NBA, but they can’t afford another slow start. Playing a 20-4 team at home, getting behind early just adds fuel to the fire for Memphis.
The Grizzlies starting five will have to come out of the gates looking for the best shots, and executing each possession. I look for Grayson Allen to have a similar impact to start this game for the Grizzlies. Drilling four first half three-pointers against Minnesota, I don’t expect Allen to slow down tonight.
Philadelphia allows teams to score off of their turnovers rather easily, and turns the ball over at a shocking rate, see if the Grizzlies can get out in transition. Executing off of turnovers, and playing really good defense in the half court will be huge for both the starters and the bench, but the starters have to set the tone.
I’m predicting that Embiid sits out tonight due to load management, so I’m leaning towards the Grizzlies to upset the 76ers on the road at Wells Fargo Center.
Grizzlies 114 - 76ers 109