76ers look to remain dominant at home vs. Grizzlies
Coming off their most thorough beatdown of the season, a 25-point win over the stumbling Washington Wizards, the Philadelphia 76ers host the visiting Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at Wells Fargo Center.
Philadelphia has been one of the hottest teams in the NBA of late, winners of seven of eight, and the single most dominant team at home this year, with the win over Washington moving them to 12-1 at home this season.
But after beating the New York Knicks at home on Wednesday by 16, the 76ers won the first three quarters in huge fashion, building a 28-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. And the Sixers did that with no player scoring more than Joel Embiid’s 16 points and no starter playing more than 25 minutes.
“I think it was a good team fit, we were able to rest guys, eight guys in double figures, defense was pretty good throughout the night,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said after the game. “Did a pretty good job on the boards; the disparity, the difference is what wins games. Twenty-nine assists, that’s a good number, all those types of things.”
This from a team that lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in recent days and needed buzzer-beaters to beat the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets.
A 41-point margin of victory in the last two games combined has the team feeling confident and ready as the Grizzlies come to town before they head on the road for tough matchups at Toronto and Detroit.
“That’s what we talked about in practice and sessions before the game … to try to play a complete game of basketball on both ends of the floor. I think we’ve done that for two straight games,” said Jimmy Butler, who had 11 points but a positive-19 plus/minus ratio against the Wizards. “We are trying to string that along for another one and another one after that. I think we are going to make shots every night if we guard and give ourselves that opportunity.”
If Philadelphia is thriving after having built its best run of the short season, Memphis is relieved after posting a 131-125 double-overtime win at Brooklyn on Friday, a win that stopped a three-game losing streak.
Memphis had dropped a close 112-107 road matchup at the Los Angeles Clippers before losing two straight at home in horrendous fashion to the Knicks (103-98) and on Tuesday to the Raptors (122-114).
“I think it’s a blip,” Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the three-game skid. “There’s no reason to panic. We’ll be fine. It’s not like we’re out here getting our doors kicked in. We’re putting ourselves in position. We just have to finish.”
And finish they did against the Nets, especially Mike Conley.
Conley had 37 points against Brooklyn, including 13 of Memphis’ 14 points in double overtime against the Nets, and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. added a career-high 36.
After traveling to Philadelphia, the Grizzlies return home for a rematch with the Clippers before heading back out on the road to tangle with New Orleans.