Beat a terrible Memphis Grizzlies team and you head into the break riding high on a four-game win streak. Lose and the sky is falling again. The rumor mill grinds back into action, the local papers spend six days talking about how this year's version of the Sixers is doomed to the same fate as last year's. Let's just say losing really shouldn't be an option and move on to the breakdown after the jump.
The Grizzlies are coming off two wins, in fact, they're undefeated since Rudy Gay went down with a hip flexor injury and Quinton Ross was inserted into the starting lineup. They've played much better defense in those two games, which really isn't that surprising considering Gay's defensive prowess, or lack thereof.
To tell the truth, I think the Griz may be better off without Gay in the lineup. Their stud rookie, O.J. Mayo dominates the ball and really doesn't look to give it up, much like Gay. Those two seem to battle for shots, and neither one is particularly efficient when they shoot the ball. With Gay out of the lineup, there's only one ball hog out there, and offenses can generally survive one, not two. Mayo has really stepped up the rest of his game in Gay's absence, as well. He ripped down 16 boards against an under-manned New Orleans team on Monday.
I'm wondering if we'll see Iguodala matched up on Mayo tonight. There really isn't anyone else on the perimeter you need to worry about, so if O.J. is giving Willie Green problems, I could see DiLeo switching his best defender onto Mayo.
The Griz seem to rebound well and they get to the line an awful lot, otherwise they're really a bad team. The Sixers don't need to do anything out of the ordinary to stretch this streak to four games, they simply need to play an average game for them and it won't be close.
Memphis has two rookies headed to the rookies vs. sophs game over All Star Weekend, Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo. Perhaps this will be a little motivation for Marreese Speights? I'm excited to see how he follows up his dominating performance against the Suns.
The tip is at 7pm, I'll be here. You guys know the drill, discussion in the comments if you're around.
Mike will be attending the game and we'll have his first-person report up late tonight.