Sixers Ground Into Grit By Grizzlies

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

Zach Randolph bullied his way to yet another double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Memphis 101, Philadelphia 83 – Box Score

One night after the Sixers blew a lead to lose in semi-heart-breaking fashion, fans were treated to the other kind of loss the team has popularized this season: the sloppy, turnover-fest where they’re never really in the game. The Grizzlies are a good team (top-notch analysis, I know), but the Sixers didn’t even give themselves a chance to be competitive by turning the ball over 24 times. Out-of-bounds passes to no one, unnecessary passes into traffic, dribbling into too many defenders, you name a bad type of turnover, the Sixers likely did it Saturday night in Memphis. The 24 giveaways were the most the Grizzlies have forced in a game this season (I’d like to say that’s the most the Sixers have had in a game, but well, you’ve been following the team).

When the Grizzlies weren’t getting easy buckets off Sixers turnovers, they were happy to work the ball inside with their dominant big man duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. With the Sixers playing undersized guys at the power forward position all night in either Luc Mbah a Moute or Jerami Grant, Z-Bo took advantage to the tune of 17 points and 14 rebounds. He was just too big and strong for the guys he was going up against, and when the Sixers would try to front him, the Grizzlies just found him over the top to finish over a rotating K.J. McDaniels or other wing. To rub things in, Randolph even hit his 2nd three of the season! Gasol wasn’t needed too much offensively given the score, but was his usual steady presence on both ends, finishing with 9 points on 3-5 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

The only bright spot on the evening for the Sixers was the play of Jerami Grant. After swatting a career-high 8 blocks the night before against Toronto, Grant decided to focus on the other end of the floor, scoring a career-high 16 points on 5-10 shooting, 2-4 from three, and this ferocious reverse dunk:

Grant did have 5 turnovers, but that was basically a prerequisite for taking the court for the Sixers Saturday night, so I’ll manage to overlook it. All in all, we’re seeing flashes from the 2nd-round pick in different areas of his game each night. You’re encouraged to think he’ll eventually put it all together, as Brett Brown commented after the game:

The Sixers are back in action Monday in New Orleans, facing the last team against whom they’ve earned a victory. The Pelicans will have Anthony Davis on the court for this meeting so fans may have to take solace in seeing the Brow in action rather than another Sixers victory.

Other Game Notes:

  • Furkan Aldemir actually took 2 jump shots in this game! It’s true, I saw it happen! They looked pretty good too, with one dropping and the other just spinning out. He finished with 4 points, a career-high 11 rebounds, and a game-high 3 steals. If he could make defenses think there’s even a chance he’s going to shoot the ball, that will make it easier for Brett Brown to throw him out on the court. Right now, defenses pay him no mind out there and his presence clogs the lane even further for the team offensively.
  • I’m currently in Florida and have been watching this weekend’s games on League Pass, so tonight I heard the Memphis announcers in action. Surprisingly, they were fairly complimentary to the Sixers and understood how this season was all about player development. There was no talk of tanking, disgracing the game, or any of the other garbage that still seems to crop up from outside parties from time-to-time. Classy job by those guys (one of which was former player Brevin Knight!).

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