The Memphis Grizzlies took on the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers on Easter Sunday in Philly and their performance should not only be viewed through the scope of missing their MVP candidate big man. During the 10 game stretch without Embiid, the Sixers were 7-3 and +7.8 — still a very good basketball team.
The Memphis Grizzlies wings were phenomenal all night long, starting with Dillon’s playmaking and control, followed by De’Anthony Melton’s sharpshooting and stellar defense ending with a clinic from deep by Grayson Allen.
Brooks and Valanciunas had the connection early as Dillon assisted on the big man’s first three buckets. DB was stellar in the first quarter turning down good looks for a better look for a teammate. Melton came in and changed the game. On top of three early threes, Melton had a blocked shot and three assists.
The Grizzlies led by 7 at the end of the first, an encouraging sign against a great team after a long streak of awful first quarters. Memphis behind the play of Melton extended that lead to 10 at half. Grayson Allen did his best Denzel Washington impression coming out of the locker room to start the third on fire hitting three straight threes, helping Memphis score 45 points in third.
The Philly fans were booing their own team as they trailed by 26 at the end of the third. The young Grizzlies did an excellent job keeping their foot on the gas and putting them away early as Doc Rivers emptied the bench minutes into the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies bench unit let the lead drop back to 13, forcing Jenkins to reenter his starters with 3 minutes left.
- Ja Morant only had eight points but 10 assists and 5 rebounds while being a team best +29. 12 is more than ok with getting his teammates the ball than putting up 30 himself. He feels the game out and does what it takes. Superstar leader stuff.
- The wing battle for rotation minutes continues to be an impossible decision for the coaches. Dillon (17), Grayson (15), Melton (14) and Bane (14) were all great and proved worthy of minutes going forward.
- JV has a personal best 10th straight double double, second player in Grizzlies history to do so — per Grizzlies PR.