76ers-Grizzlies Preview


The Philadelphia 76ers have lost six straight on the road, but that's not the only reason coach Doug Collins isn't in a good mood during the holidays.

Things probably won't get any easier Wednesday night against a Memphis Grizzlies team that is 12-2 at home and coming off its worst loss of the season.

Philadelphia (13-15) is making the second stop on an eight-game road stretch after falling 95-92 at Brooklyn on Sunday. The 76ers returned home for Christmas before heading West on a trip that will be capped by three difficult sets of games on back-to-back days.

"The thing I don't like about our schedule is it's so imbalanced in that way too many home games in a stretch or period of time, way too many road," Collins said. "I don't like that kind of imbalance and the reason I don't is if you lose a key player and you're at home and you lose four or five home games, that's tough to make up. And you can get yourself in a spin, and when you get in that spin, it is hard to get out."

The daunting stretch of road games got off to a bad start Sunday, and Collins was not happy that the Nets shot 30 free throws compared to the 76ers' 10.

"I gotta be real careful because I don't want to give away my holiday money so I gotta be real careful," said Collins, whose club has lost six of seven overall.

Philadelphia is enduring its longest road slide since dropping eight straight Nov. 10-Dec. 3, 2010.

While fatigue could affect the Sixers on this trip, it looked like a major factor in the Grizzlies' 121-96 loss at Houston on Saturday. Memphis (18-7) had a four-game win streak snapped as it allowed its most points and highest field-goal percentage (53.7) of the season.

"We just had no juice, no energy and were not mentally tough," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We just kind of packed it in early and I decided to give some other guys a look in the fourth quarter and they didn't do much better."

It was an uncharacteristic effort for the Grizzlies, who are allowing a Western Conference-low 90.5 points per game.

"We're going to try to move on from this game and it's just not easy," said leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was held to a season-low six points - 12.2 below his average.

One key matchup Wednesday will be at point guard between Philadelphia leading scorer Jrue Holiday and Memphis' Mike Conley.

Holiday is averaging 18.3 points and is second among East players with 8.8 assists per game. He's also averaging 3.7 turnovers as he gets ready to face Conley - one of the league leaders with 2.5 steals per game.

Second-year Sixers center Lavoy Allen has 18 points and 16 rebounds over two games since moving back into the starting lineup and will match up against a Grizzlies frontcourt that features Zach Randolph, who leads the league with 21 double-doubles and has four straight versus Philadelphia.

"I've always said with Lavoy it's the motor," Collins said. "If the motor's running, he plays well."

The Sixers are 0-3 against Memphis since drafting Evan Turner in 2010. Turner, averaging 15.3 points this season, has totaled 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting in those games.