Here are my main takeaways and best and worst awards from the 76ers’ 103-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Posting up Ben Simmons early on is becoming a successful tactic for the Sixers. On the game’s first play, the Sixers point guard went to the block after passing the ball to Joel Embiid. Embiid passed it back, and Simmons went on to score an easy reverse layup over Kyle Anderson 15 seconds into the game. He scored six of the Sixers’ first eight points, and their first three field goals, on layups.
Simmons and Jimmy Butler have developed a solid chemistry. The “Headband Brothers” combined on two plays in the first 2 minutes, 9 seconds of the game. Simmons’ third basket came on a cutting layup on an assist from Butler. Then 25 seconds later, Simmons found Butler for alley-oop dunk. The two have been wearing matching white headbands the past two games, and Butler has taken Simmons under his wing.
Embiid doesn’t have good shooting performances against Marc Gasol. The Sixers center made just 4 of 13 shots against the Memphis standout and has combined to shoot 8-for-28 (28 percent) in this season’s two games vs. Gasol and the Grizzlies. Sunday, Gasol even blocked Embiid’s 29-foot, three-point attempt at 8:34 of the third quarter.
The Sixers are one of the NBA’s best teams -- if not the best -- at ball movement. The squad has a knack for passing up good shots for great ones. One example came on a first-quarter possession. T.J. McConnell drove the lane and passed to Furkan Korkmaz, who was standing beyond the three-point line in front of the Sixers bench. With Omri Casspi charging, Korkmaz drove to the paint and delivered a bounce pass to wide-open Landry Shamet. The rookie sank a three with 3:14 left in the quarter.
Best and worst
Best performance: Simmons gets this for setting the tempo and having a solid all-round game. He scored nine of the Sixers’ first 15 points. He went on to finish with 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and three turnovers.
Worst performance: I have to give this to Shelvin Mack. The former Sixer had four assists in 20:44, but he scored two points and made just 1 of 5 shots. The reserve guard graded out at a game-worst minus-13.
Best defensive performance: JaMychal Green, Grizzlies reserve power forward, posted a season-high four steals.
Worst statistic: Embiid and JJ Redick combined to shoot 0-for-7 in the first quarter. Redick missed all five of his first-quarter attempts.
Best statistic: This goes to Simmons' shooting 8-for-10 from the field. His two misses came on a 6-foot turnaround jumper in the first quarter and a second-quarter fadeaway from 12 feet.