MEMPHIS – The 76ers face the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday, a team that has beaten them eight consecutive times, including a 104-99 win over the Sixers the night before Thanksgiving.
Here are three things you can look for in Tuesday night's contest:
The Sixers will be playing their fourth game in five nights and will be doing it with just nine players available for coach Brett Brown. Joel Embiid won't play as part of his "load management" as he played in Monday's loss to the Denver Nuggets and has yet to play in back-to-back games. Jahlil Okafor (gastroenteritis) and Robert Covington (sprained knee) will also be out, as will Jerryd Bayless (wrist). Richaun Holmes will see the majority of the minutes at the center spot due to all the injuries, with Brown most likely having to use a smaller lineup at times that will see Ersan Ilyasova playing the five.
There very well could be a fatigue factor for both teams. Memphis played a double-overtime game on Monday, a 110-108 win in New Orleans. So, both teams played on Monday and had to get on planes to be in Memphis. This could mean a low-scoring game as legs may not be there for jump shooters, or it could mean no energy at the defensive end, which could make it a bit of a shootout. If it's close, that doesn't bode well for the Sixers (4-17). Memphis (14-8) is 10-0 this season in games that have been decided by five or fewer points.
The Sixers again struggled late in the game Monday against Denver, twice turning the ball over on out of bounds plays in the fourth quarter in what became a 106-98 loss. The Sixers have lost seven in a row, with four of those setbacks coming by single digits. In each of those games the Sixers held a double-digit lead at one point. They are becoming way too familiar with finding ways to lose games. The need to learn how to win close games in the fourth quarter is as high as ever. It will be difficult against Memphis, should it come to that, with such a limited roster.
Posted: December 6, 2016 - 2:40 PM
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