Grizzlies, unbeaten at home, host 76ers
MEMPHIS — The Memphis Grizzlies will look to remain unbeaten at home this season and continue their recent dominance of the Philadelphia 76ers when the two clubs with winning records tangle on Saturday night.
The Grizzlies have opened the season 4-0 at home, including an 89-87 thriller over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Philadelphia had lost 10 straight overall to the Grizzlies before prevailing 119-105 at home last March.
The 76ers headed south immediately following a 133-132 overtime victory at home over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.
Among those who will begin a three-game trip on tired legs will be Ben Simmons, who went 41 minutes to get a 22-point, 13-assist double-double, and Embiid, who was pounded upon in his 39 minutes to the tune of 22 free throws (he made 19).
Embiid finished with 42 points and 18 rebounds, and he hit three of his foul shots in the overtime session, including one with 6.0 seconds left that stood as the eventual margin of victory.
The 76ers also will visit Miami and Orlando on the trip.
The 76ers’ most recent road outing was an impressive one, with Simmons flirting with a triple-double in a 100-94 win at Indiana on Wednesday.
Simmons had 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in the win that had his coach, Brett Brown, gushing afterward.
“This is the Holy Grail of it all,” he said of his team’s performance. “When their spirit is where it is most times, that competitive energy, that togetherness as a team, they’re a good basketball team.”
The 76ers have struggled offensively over the years at Memphis, having failed to score more than 101 points in any visit since 2010.
The Grizzlies lead the NBA in scoring defense at 100.6 points per game, having held five of their last eight opponents to 97 points or fewer. Memphis has gone 4-1 in those games.
Gasol figures to get help in his battle with Embiid now that the Grizzlies have added 6-foot-11 Jaren Jackson Jr. in the draft.
The No. 4 overall pick in June helped hold Nuggets standout big man Nikola Jokic without a field goal and to a total of just four points in Wednesday’s game. Jackson excelled on the defensive end with three steals and three blocks.
“I give our big guys credit,” Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the game. “We started with Marc, then Jaren got a taste of him. I think they did a heck of a job defending him. Put him in difficult situations where he never had really clear catch-and-shoot opportunities. The plays that he was making from the elbow and things like that, our guys were all over him, smothering him. So I give our guys a ton of credit.”
Jackson also contributed 20 points to the win.