Six different 76ers scored in double figures as Philadelphia led wire-to-wire, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 119-105 Wednesday night from the Wells Fargo Center.
The 76ers would take control from the opening tap Monday night, scoring the game’s first four points on route to a 12-5 run to being the game. During that stretch, Memphis knocked down just two of its first nine shots, including missing five straight at one point. These same shooting woes plagued the Grizzlies all night, as the team shot 40 percent from the field, a number that greatly improved in the fourth quarter when both teams’ starter were removed from the game. In the first quarter alone, the Grizzlies missed 18 of the 25 shots they attempted from the field, whereas the 76ers knocked down 11 of 20.
Following the opening run, the 76ers almost immediately went on a second run of the first quarter, outscoring the Grizzlies 13-8 to end the frame. After one, the 76ers led 26-19, but the lead could, and likely should, have been greater, as both Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova missed practically wide open layups.
It was this same Embiid, however, who would come to life in the second quarter. After scoring just two points in the first 12 minutes, Embiid would score the first six points of the quarter for either side, extending the 76ers’ lead to 13 points. Embiid would finish the quarter with 12 points and the half with 14, his final game total.
Th struggles from the field carried over for the Grizzlies, who missed their first four shots of the second quarter, and managed just one make in their first seven attempts. Marc Gasol was not prone to the scoring lull, as the three-time All Star didn’t get on the board until 4:50 left in the second quarter. He would finish the game with just five points.
Perhaps the one Grizzlies who was not plagued Monday night was former-Oregon star Dillon Brooks, who picked up 14 points on six of nine shooting. He, along with Wayne Seldon, who produced 18 points, led the way for Memphis, who would go on a quick 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to cut the 76ers’ lead to six, 46-40.
The six point lead would be the smallest for the remainder of the game for the 76ers, who went on a 10-2 run to end the half. On queue, as if summoned by the ticking of the waning halftime clock, J.J. Redick knocked down a three as time expired in the half to give the 76ers a 14 point lead, 58-44. Redick finished the day with 15 points, ten of which came in the first half.
Both teams came out firing to begin the second half, as the two combined to make six of the half’s first eight shots. As the third quarter settled in, so did the 76ers’ offense, which began to click on all cylinders. A quick 9-0 run over two minutes would give Philadelphia a 21 point lead, its largest in the game to that point. The run ended with a Robert Covington three ball, a shot that put all five starters in double figures for the evening.
More importantly, the 9-0 was part of a larger 23-2 run that helped the 76ers’ lead swell to 33 points, the largest it would get. The run was paced, in part, to six made threes from the 76ers in the quarter, including this triple from Robert Covington.
Covington finished the night as one of four 76ers to score 15 points, tied for the team lead as Philadelphia distributed the ball evenly throughout the night. This was evident by the team’s 32 assists. The 76ers lead the Eastern Conference in 30-plus assist nights this season.
At the end of three, the 76ers were all over the Grizzlies, 99-69. The 41 points the team scored in the third quarter were the most in a quarter since the team dropped 42 in January against Sacramento. It also marked the fourth time this year the 76ers have scored 40 or more in a quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, Brett Brown would use the final twelve minutes to rest his starters and get floor time for many of his reserves. Every player that entered the game, including Demetrius Jackson, who grabbed his first points as a 76er Monday night, scored at least two points.
The key piece to the extended bench play was Richaun Holmes, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter alone.
The Grizzlies would win the final quarter, 36-20, but after trailing by 30 heading into the fourth, they never had a real chance at coming back Monday night. The 14 point 76ers’ victory was really not nearly as close as the score indicated.
Blizzard condition wouldn’t stop 10,400 76ers’ fans from packing into the Wells Fargo Center to witness the 40th victory of the season. With the win, Philadelphia improved to 40-30, marking the best wining percentage for the team since 2002-2003. The 76ers jumped into the fourth seed, based on winning percentage, unseating the Indiana Pacers, who fell to the New Orleans Pelicans, from that spot. The 76ers, Pacers and Washington Wizards now all sit within a half game of each other, and are seeded fourth through sixth in the Eastern Conference.
The 76ers will quickly be back in action, as they’ll board a plan and fly to Orlando to take on the Magic Thursday night from the Amway Center. You can catch all that action on 97.5 The Fanatic!
-By Tyler Zulli