The Philadelphia 76ers have lost six straight on the road, but
that’s not the only reason coach Doug Collins isn’t in a good mood
during the holidays.
Things probably won’t get any easier Wednesday night against a
Memphis Grizzlies team that is 12-2 at home and coming off its
worst loss of the season.
Philadelphia (13-15) is making the second stop on an eight-game
road stretch after falling 95-92 at Brooklyn on Sunday. The 76ers
returned home for Christmas before heading West on a trip that will
be capped by three difficult sets of games on back-to-back
“The thing I don’t like about our schedule is it’s so imbalanced
in that way too many home games in a stretch or period of time, way
too many road,” Collins said. “I don’t like that kind of imbalance
and the reason I don’t is if you lose a key player and you’re at
home and you lose four or five home games, that’s tough to make up.
And you can get yourself in a spin, and when you get in that spin,
it is hard to get out.”
The daunting stretch of road games got off to a bad start
Sunday, and Collins was not happy that the Nets shot 30 free throws
compared to the 76ers’ 10.
“I gotta be real careful because I don’t want to give away my
holiday money so I gotta be real careful,” said Collins, whose club
has lost six of seven overall.
Philadelphia is enduring its longest road slide since dropping
eight straight Nov. 10-Dec. 3, 2010.
While fatigue could affect the Sixers on this trip, it looked
like a major factor in the Grizzlies’ 121-96 loss at Houston on
Saturday. Memphis (18-7) had a four-game win streak snapped as it
allowed its most points and highest field-goal percentage (53.7) of
“We just had no juice, no energy and were not mentally tough,”
coach Lionel Hollins said. “We just kind of packed it in early and
I decided to give some other guys a look in the fourth quarter and
they didn’t do much better.”
It was an uncharacteristic effort for the Grizzlies, who are
allowing a Western Conference-low 90.5 points per game.
“We’re going to try to move on from this game and it’s just not
easy,” said leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was held to a season-low
six points – 12.2 below his average.
One key matchup Wednesday will be at point guard between
Philadelphia leading scorer Jrue Holiday and Memphis’ Mike
Holiday is averaging 18.3 points and is second among East
players with 8.8 assists per game. He’s also averaging 3.7
turnovers as he gets ready to face Conley – one of the league
leaders with 2.5 steals per game.
Second-year Sixers center Lavoy Allen has 18 points and 16
rebounds over two games since moving back into the starting lineup
and will match up against a Grizzlies frontcourt that features Zach
Randolph, who leads the league with 21 double-doubles and has four
straight versus Philadelphia.
“I’ve always said with Lavoy it’s the motor,” Collins said. “If
the motor’s running, he plays well.”
The Sixers are 0-3 against Memphis since drafting Evan Turner in
2010. Turner, averaging 15.3 points this season, has totaled 12
points on 5-of-18 shooting in those games.