After back-to-back victories over the Heat, the Sixers return to the court to take on the Memphis Grizzlies for the first time this season. The Grizzlies have had a disappointing start to the season sitting at 10th in the Western Conference with a record of 5-6.
The Grizzlies play a much slower pace than the Sixers and have struggled to score this season, averaging just 106.5 points per game (26th in NBA). In contrast, the Sixers average 114.3 points per game (9th in NBA) and look to push the break at a much greater rate than the Grizzlies. Memphis also has not played since Wednesday due to their recent game against the Timberwolves was postponed due to a Covid outbreak.
The injury bug has not been kind to the Grizzlies as Jaren Jackson Jr, Justice Winslow, Jontay Porter, and Killian Tillie will all be out due to various injuries. Ja Morant is also questionable to play due to recovering from a sprained ankle which has caused him to miss the past 8 games for the team.
Ja Morant is obviously the biggest story here as the former unanimous rookie of the year has averaged 26.3 points and 6.3 assists in the games he has played this season. Morant was listed as questionable for the Timberwolves game prior to it being canceled so there is reason to believe he will be ready to give it a go in the matchup against the Sixers. Given his playstyle’s natural reliance on his athleticism, burst, and cutting ability it will be a major hit to his game if that ankle is not fully recovered.
Joel Embiid and Sixers Injury Committee
The giant (7-foot, to be exact) elephant in the room is obviously that Joel Embiid will be out for both games on this road trip due to a knee injury. Embiid has reportedly been dealing with pain in his knee since the Heat game on Thursday, but it is not expected to be anything serious. The Sixers will continue to be cautious with the franchise cornerstone and he will likely be back and ready to go when the team returns to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
In addition to Embiid, Seth Curry will still remain out as he recovers from his positive Covid test. Furkan Korkmaz will remain out as he works his way back into being able to play after being away from the team due to personal reasons. Mike Scott will also sit out of the road trip as he was forced to exit the last game early due to knee soreness himself. Despite this handful of players hurt, the Sixers still feel deeper than ever as they survived the recent stretch of games with the bare minimum available players.
Ben Simmons Revenge Tour?
After a turbulent week filled with rumors of being shipped off to Houston, Simmons will be looked at to continue to play with a fire lit under him. After a great game against the Heat in which he recorded his second triple-double of the season, Simmons will be looked at to take an even bigger role in the offense due to the absence of Embiid. As usual, there is not a great opposing matchup for Simmons on the Grizzlies roster so look for Ben to be aggressive early on as he continues to be the engine that makes the Sixers offense run.
Even without Joel Embiid, the Sixers should look at this game as a great opportunity to notch another win on the season. Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, and Tobias Harris will also be looked at for an increased role in the offense to make up for the 25 points per game that are typically provided by Embiid.
The game will tip-off at 8 PM and the Sixers are currently listed as 2-point underdogs on most betting sites.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
Lead Sixers Writer for Philly Sports Network and Co-host of the Pick Swap Podcast. Trust the Process
Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod