The last time the Sixers met the Memphis Grizzlies should still be fresh in your mind. For roughly 30 minutes, the Sixers absolutely demolished Memphis, then it all fell apart when the Griz emptied their bench and went to a zone. Thinking about the game makes you grind your teeth and shake your head. Tonight is about righting that wrong.
Since that fateful day, both teams have been on a tremendous run. Memphis is 7-2, with their only losses coming at Houston and vs. LAL. The Sixers are 6-2, dropping games at NYK and home vs. Orlando. If they hadn't blown that 21-point lead to the Grizzlies, the Sixers would be in the midst of a 10-2 spurt, they'd also be .500.
But let's not dwell on the past, the first thing the Sixers need to do tonight is figure out how to break Memphis' zone. That's what put them in a tailspin last time. I'm sure Doug Collins used plenty of time in practice yesterday to go over how to break it. I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a quick sub and go with a different lineup the first time they see it tonight.
The second priority is defensive rebounding. Randolph and Gasol are both excellent on the offensive glass. Put a body on them, keep it on them. When it comes to scoring, you want Randolph to fall in love with his jumper, you just don't want Gasol to touch the ball much. Memphis is usually happy to oblige on the latter, for some reason.
Sam Young is an opportunistic scorer, don't give him a ton of garbage. I'd have Iguodala pressure Rudy Gay, make him put the ball on the floor or preferably, have to make plays for others. He's got a terrible assist-to-turnover ratio.
As a team, Memphis doesn't shoot a whole lot of threes, and they shoot them at a terrible percentage. Gay, Conley and Mayo all shoot at or slightly above average from distance, no one else is a concern at all.
Off the bench, Darrell Arthur has played a couple of decent games lately and who knows what to expect from OJ Mayo.
I'd like to see Jrue use his size over Conley early, and Brand take advantage of Zach Randolph. The matchup to watch is Iguodala on Gay. It wasn't even close last game until late, this time, I'm expecting Igudoala to give Gay a first-hand demonstration why he was the starter for Team USA while Gay and Granger carried the bags.
Prediction: PHI 100, MEM 88
The tip is at 8pm, game thread will land 90 minutes prior.