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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game Preview

The Grizzlies return home, looking to bounce back against the 76ers

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (12-9, 7-2 home) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (12-10, 5-5 away)

WHEN: 7:00PM CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum — Memphis, TN

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: TNT/Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Desmond Bane (Out, toe), Danny Green (Out, knee), Ziaire Williams (Out, Patellar Tendinitis) Jake LaRavia (Doubtful, LT Foot Soreness)

PHILADELPHIA: Tyrese Maxey (Out, foot) James Harden (Out, Foot) Jaden Springer (Out, Quad) Tobias Harris (Questionable, Illness)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

PHILADELPHIA: De’Anthony Melton, Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, P.J. Tucker, Joel Embiid

After a very disappointing loss in Minnesota on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies return home to face the Philadelphia 76ers, who have won 3 of their last 4 games. The matchup will feature teams that are both missing key pieces early in the year. Two steals of the 2020 draft, Desmond Bane and Tyrese Maxey, will both be out along with James Harden and Ziaire Williams.

It will also feature two of the league’s leading scorers with Joel Embiid (31.3 PPG) and Ja Morant (28.2 PPG). A battle of two paint-scoring superstars is rare in today’s game but it will certainly lead to some offensive fireworks.

The Grizzlies will play 6 of their next 7 games at home, and a win tonight along with the impending returns from injury could spark a win streak for the Grizzlies. Here are some keys to tonight’s game.

Bouncing back

The Grizzlies have made a habit of bouncing back after losses over the past two seasons. Last year they went months without losing more than 2 games in a row. Returning home, it will be important for them to start December on the right foot.

In Minnesota, the Grizzlies turned the ball over 27 times and shot just 18-30 from the free throw line in an 8-point loss, those two categories have to be the starting point for Memphis. Free throws have been an issue all season, but the turnovers were sloppy and uncharacteristic of the usual Grizzlies team.

The Grizzlies must also start strong. They have shown a tendency to let up when playing injured rosters in the past, and it often leads to close games or even losses, similar to what happened against Philadelphia last season. Overall intensity and ball security from the opening tip will be crucial.

Making Joel Embiid work

Embiid is one of those players that is so good that they will get their points every night. It’s likely that he will score 25+ regardless of the game’s outcome, due to his skill and the short handed roster of the 76ers.

However, the Grizzlies have to make it tough on him from the opening tip and cannot let him get into a rhythm. Steven Adams will definitely help in this regard, as he is one of the few centers who can match up with Embiid physically. It’s not an easy matchup for Adams, but it’s nearly impossible to bully him in the paint.

It will also be up to Jaren Jackson Jr. to help Adams inside, along with the rest of the lineup having solid rotations on the perimeter. Embiid also averages just under 5 assists per game and is great at passing out of double teams.

Recent history shows that the Grizzlies bounce back more often than not, especially in home games. Against a Philadelphia team that has had a lot of up and downs this season, I expect them to get off to a much better start. The game will probably come down to the wire, but my prediction would be a Grizzlies 117-112 win.

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