By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after beating the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. They faced a hot Memphis Grizzlies squad who was looking to take full advantage of the Embiid-less Sixers. Philly was able to use a late-game offensive explosion to beat the Grizzlies 122-119.
The game started out well for the Sixers. They jumped on the Grizzlies early in the game. They were able to hit their shots early in the game and were able to get a nine-point advantage over Memphis by the end of the first quarter. They were led by Tobias Harris (33-points) and Tyrese Maxey (31-points) who combined for 64 of Philly’s 122-points. Both accepted the challenge of taking on the scoring load without Joel Embiid who missed this game because of rest. The Grizzlies did not have an answer for the duo on the defensive end they got what they wanted from the floor. Harris has continued his hot January and that has been a difference maker for this team. He has become the second option for the Sixers need which has allowed them to rocket up the Eastern Conference standing.
Despite the offensive explosion from Harris and Maxey. The Grizzlies were able to weather the early storm and were able to come back and send the game into overtime. They were led by Ja Morant and Desmond Bane who combined 71 of Memphis’ 119-points. The Sixers could not stop either one of them. They both got what they wanted from the field and made Philly pay for daring to leave them open. Bane made it rain from the three-point line. He hit five three-pointers. Philly was able to stifle the duo later in the overtime period. They started trapping and double-teaming them which got the ball out of their hands and forced someone else to beat them. Nobody else on the Grizzlies squad was up for the challenge as they went scoreless in the last two-minutes and 45-seconds of the overtime period.
On what motivated them during the overtime period, “We have five minutes right now. Let’s figure this out, and get this win,” said Harris.
Philly took full advantage of that late-game power outage by the Grizzlies. Maxey hit two clutch lay-ups to finish the game off for the Sixers. Philly will now prepare for the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. They will need to have another balanced scoring night and another good perimeter defensive to stop the Wizards offense. If they want their 32nd victory of the season.
On what makes this team special, “Guys like each other. They like playing with each other. It’s a good group. They like each other,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers.