Here were three keys to the latest loss by the Sixers:
The return of Zach Randolph. The powerful forward for Memphis had missed the previous seven games due to his mom's death on Thanksgiving. With no practice time with the club during that time, Randolph didn't enter the game until midway through the first quarter and showed the obvious rust in the early part of the game. Where he wasn't rusty was in the rebounding department. Randolph finished the game with 14 boards, including nine in the decisive fourth quarter when the Grizzlies outscored the Sixers by 20-14. Randolph, Marc Gasol (12) and forward JaMychal Green (10) combined for 36 rebounds among them. The Sixers had just 45 as a team.
Foul shooting. For some reason when the Sixers shoot poorly from the foul line, it seems contagious. Tuesday they made just half of their 26 foul shots and Memphis had a 15-point scoring advantage from the line.
Turnovers. The Sixers posted 16 more of these on Tuesday, none more damning than the two they committed in the final couple of minutes of the game, one on a key possession of a tied game, the other off an inbounds while trailing by two. Their late-game play in close games has not been good all season long. It's almost as if they become tentative in the late going in a close game. That is no way to play a basketball game. This is a team that just finds different ways to lose; a team that almost expects to lose late in games. Until they can clear that hurdle, more close losses certainly will be on the horizon.