Embiid-less Sixers fail to rally past Grizzlies in heroic comeback attempt

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Sixers couldn’t complete their comeback, falling to the Grizzlies by a score of 106-104.

Entering the contest without their superstar big man (Embiid was out due to knee treatment/load management), the Sixers came out looking super flat against a Memphis Grizzlies squad that was seeing last year’s Rookie of the Year winner, Ja Morant, return to the lineup after missing a couple of games. Key starters Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris started off the game looking extremely sluggish, and it set Philly up for a heroic, but ultimately failed comeback.

After falling behind by as many as 14 points in the second half, early Sixth Man of the Year candidate Shake Milton sparked a relatively promising comeback. He was a man possessed in the fourth quarter, finishing the contest with 28 points on 10-18 shooting. It was his third straight game with at least 24 points.

Harris got in on some of the action late as well, as he finished with a respectable 21 points. However, it was his accidental stepping out of bounds down just two points with the shot clock unplugged that ultimately lost the Sixers the game. Philadelphia finished with a whopping 23 turnovers – it’s borderline impossible to win in the NBA turning the ball over that much.

Simmons once again lacked an inherent sense of aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball but flirted with a triple-double posting 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 9 assists.

Dwight Howard was also impressive filling in as the team’s starting center, as he finished the night with 8 points, 18 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Ultimately speaking, this was a game that feels all too familiar compared to previous seasons. With Embiid not in the lineup and the team on the road playing against a lesser opponent of sorts, the entire Sixers team came out lethargic and disinterested. It took the offense 3+ quarters to finally get going. If they had simply played the entire game with the intensity they played the fourth quarter with, they would’ve likely left Memphis with a double-digit victory.

Instead, the Sixers fall to 9-5 on the season and are 2-4 away from the Wells Fargo Center. Frustrating stuff for a team that started off the season looking like the best unit in basketball.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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