By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers headed into a tough back-back schedule. They faced the young and hungry Memphis Grizzlies who were desperate for a win. That desperation really showed in this game as they outhustled the Sixers, and took advantage of their mistakes to beat them in a thriller 106-104. Philly is now 9-5 in the loaded Eastern conference.
Early in the game Philly got out to a hot start they were able to overwhelm Memphis early. They hit their first three buckets and held Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, relatively in check. However despite that they seemed out of sync, because they were careless with the ball. They had 22 turnovers which allowed Memphis to score 16-points, and Philly could not overcome those mistakes.
They compounded the issue by not being able to get enough defensive stops. Grizzlies took advantage on offense. They were able to attack the Sixers in the paint, because Joel Embiid did not make the trip because of knee soreness. The Sixers just could not stop the inside attack of Memphis. When they did it allowed Morant to get off. He used his illusiveness to get the Sixers guards in foul trouble. He scored 17-points and had six assists.
On not having his full amount of weapons because of injury and Covid-19 protocols, “Get over it and win the game,” said Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Without Embiid more scoring opportunities were available for Philly. In this game the Sixers starters did not take advantage. However, sixth-man Shake Milton picked up right where he left off against the Heat and took full advantage of the added scoring opportunities. He scored 28-points and led Philly on a late game run to cut the lead to four. Milton continues to shine in his role and he may be making a case to be a starter.
On Milton, “I want Shake to be that way every night, no matter who’s on the floor, in all situations,” said Rivers.
Despite the effort from Milton. Philly didn’t have it tonight. Even though they shot 43.2% from the field. They just didn’t have the balanced scoring they had against Miami. It wasn’t a good shooting night for forward Tobias Harris and guard/forward Ben Simmons. The Sixers will need to find some additional scoring help from their starters if they want to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow.