The Memphis Grizzlies had to grind out a win against the Philadelphia 76ers last month.
The 76ers will travel for Saturday night’s matchup, however, and the road has often proved unkind to them.
Memphis (30-12) has won five of six with two of those victories decided by six points or fewer and another in double overtime. The Grizzlies had to go through 14 ties and six lead changes before taking control in the fourth quarter in Wednesday’s 92-86 win over visiting Toronto.
Memphis was outrebounded 21-9 on the offensive glass and 50-45 overall, but held the Raptors to 31.8 percent shooting and a 5-of-28 performance from 3-point range. Marc Gasol led the way with 26 points, and Zach Randolph extended his season-high streak of double-doubles to seven with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
"It wasn’t the prettiest game," guard Mike Conley said. "It was a tough game for us. Nothing came easy. The ball didn’t bounce our way very often, but we found a way."
Conley had a career-high 36 points and hit the tying 3-pointer just before the end of regulation in a 120-115 overtime win against Philadelphia on Dec. 13. Randolph contributed 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds.
The lowly 76ers (8-35) enter this one having lost four in a row, wasting a 15-0 lead in Friday’s 91-86 home loss to Toronto.
Philadelphia has also dropped eight of nine on the road with those losses coming by an average of 24.8 points. The 76ers, who have been outscored by an average of 21.7 points in losing their last four road games in the second half of a back-to-back, suffered one of their most lopsided defeats of the season in Monday’s 111-76 drubbing at Washington.
They’ve also lost 15 of 16 on the road against Western Conference foes, which includes a 117-95 defeat at Memphis on April 11. The Grizzlies, 17-5 at home this season, have won three of the last four meetings in Memphis.
The Grizzlies won’t have to face Philadelphia leading scorer Tony Wroten in this game. Wroten, averaging 16.9 points, is sidelined indefinitely with a partially torn ACL that’s kept him out since Jan. 13 and will require surgery. He had 17 in the first matchup.
The 76ers did get Nerlens Noel back Friday after a one-game absence due to illness. He played with Michael Carter-Williams for the first time since giving veiled criticisms of the Philadelphia point guard’s handling of the offense after the loss in Washington.
Noel called the Wizards "a team that likes to pass the ball. It’s as simple as that. They’ve got very unselfish players."
Carter-Williams had nine assists Friday, his most in seven games, and used one of those passes to set up Noel for a dunk in the fourth quarter.
"As a group, we’ve had so many discussions on passing, playing together and extra passes," coach Brett Brown said. "I saw so many signs of tremendous improvement tonight. … As a group, I thought we did a nice job of playing together."
Carter-Williams had one of his two triple-doubles this season in the loss to Memphis, totaling 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Robert Covington had 24 points, one shy of matching a career high, and Hollis Thompson tied his personal best with 21 points.