Grizzlies 118, 76ers 102
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—In a battle of the NBA’s worst teams, the Grizzlies were at their best.
Memphis built an early double-digit lead and the Sixers never threatened as the Grizzlies went on to a 118-102 victory on Wednesday night.
“We haven’t come out with a lot of energy for a good week or two, for whatever reason,” said Kyle Korver, who led Philadelphia with 30 points. “That’s something we’ve got to work on. We didn’t play well at all in the first half, and the hole we put ourselves in was too big.”
The Grizzlies, who led by as many as 25 in the first half, snapped a three-game losing streak as seven players scored in double figures. Lawrence Roberts and Chucky Atkins scored 13 apiece for Memphis, while Pau Gasol had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Sixers, who got no closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter, lost their third straight. Philadelphia has dropped seven of its last eight. The Grizzlies’ margin of victory was their largest in 10 wins this season.
But despite the showdown between the league’s lowest two teams, both coaches bristled when asked about playing for lottery positioning in the draft rather than winning game. Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he never thinks about the draft or whether they could end up with the likes of Ohio State 7-footer Greg Oden or Texas phenom Kevin Durant. Grizzlies interim coach Tony Barone was much more colorful in his postgame reaction.
“I and the players could give a (expletive) about the draft,” Barone said, later adding that he was “disappointed” that anyone thought Memphis would do anything to lose games.
Philadelphia leading scorer Andre Iguodala, who entered the game averaging 16.5 points, scored only four, taking just four shots.
“Korver showed our guys how hard it is to get and make shots,” Barone said. “I asked our players to appreciate players like that.”
Cheeks said he wanted to control the tempo and try to keep the Grizzlies off their running game that has averaged 110 points in the last 10 games.
But it was evident early that Memphis wouldn’t be slowed, scoring 70 at the half and outscoring the Sixers in the paint 36-16.
“We just got so far down that we had to make every shot, every play,” Cheeks said.
Memphis built the 70-49 halftime advantage behind Gay’s 16 points off the bench, including 12 in the second period. The Grizzlies shot 61 percent before the break, compared to 50 for the Sixers.
Miller got Memphis to an early lead by scoring 13 in the opening quarter, and the Grizzlies seemed to show a bit more hustle.
The defensive strategy for Philadelphia was to push Gasol away from the basket, and it worked by throwing off the Grizzlies’ leading scorer, who missed five of his first six shots.
Memphis eventually extended the lead to 25 as Gasol finally got untracked, and the Grizzlies broke out for fast-break points off a handful of Philadelphia turnovers by the midway point of the second period.
“Once we got out to a lead early on, we wanted to make sure that we maintained our intensity at both ends,” Gay said. “In the second half, I felt
The game was a homecoming for Sixers F Rodney Carney. The rookie, who was the 16th pick overall in the draft, played for the University of Memphis. Carney got a warm ovation when he entered late in the first quarter and finished with eight points. … Gasol played in his 396th game for Memphis, moving him into a tie with former Shane Battier (now with Houston) for most games played in a Grizzlies uniform. … Memphis’ 70 first-half points was two under its season high recorded Monday in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. … Korver has scored at least 20 points off the bench in nine games this season for Philadelphia. … Memphis got a delay of game technical after Damon Stoudamire entered the game in the fourth quarter with his shirt untucked. Gay had received the first warning earlier in the game.