Grizzlies aim for ninth straight win over 76ers

The Memphis Grizzlies have become the masters of winning close games and games that reach overtime. Memphis also has mastered the Philadelphia 76ers recently.

Memphis has won eight straight over the 76ers and would certainly enjoy getting an easier win on the second night of a back-to-back when the teams meet Tuesday night at FedEx Forum.

Memphis is 10-0 in games that have been decided by five points or reached overtime. The latest was Monday's 110-108 double-overtime thriller in New Orleans.

Marc Gasol scored 28 points and hit the game-tying 3-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation and the game-winning 17-footer over Anthony Davis with 1:15 left in the second overtime. Troy Daniels added 29 points on seven 3-pointers as the Grizzlies improved to 14-8 this season.

"People keep talking about it, but most of our games are close," Gasol said. "I can't remember a blowout. We feel comfortable in those situations because we trust our defense and we don't panic."

One of the Grizzlies' other overtime games was a 104-99 double overtime win in Philadelphia on Nov. 23. In their latest win in the series, the Grizzlies rallied from an 11-point deficit as Mike Conley nearly had a triple-double of 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Conley shot 3 of 17 when Philadelphia last beat the Grizzlies on Dec. 26, 2012 in Memphis. He played in seven games against the Sixers since but will miss his fifth game since injuring his lower back.

Andrew Harrison has started for Conley and scored 12 points but shot 3-of-13 Monday, creating the need for big production from Daniels. Daniels has scored 69 points and hit 16 3-pointers in his last three games.

"We're just trying to find any way to win," Daniels said. "We're just trying to scratch and crawl and win."

The Sixers will be content if it is a close game, especially if they win. Philadelphia is winless since Nov. 21 and the collapse to Memphis two weeks ago began a seven-game losing streak.

Four of those losses have been by single digits and in each of those close losses, the Sixers have held a double-digit lead at some point.

The latest instance was Monday's 106-98 home loss to the Denver Nuggets. Philadelphia held a 10-point lead in the second quarter but wilted after halftime by shooting 38.5 percent and committed 14 of its 19 turnovers.

Joel Embiid had 16 points and five blocked shots but in the second half, the rookie center was 3-of-10 and committed three turnovers.

"We're used to seeing Joel have superhuman nights," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. "It looked like his balance was off, and there were times where there were hands on balls (by defenders). It's just part of a young man's growth. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it."

Embiid's next chance to rebound from the rough second half will not be Tuesday. Since he is coming off missing two seasons following a pair of foot surgeries, Embiid has rested on the second nights of back-to-backs and in other instances.

Philadelphia is 1-6 when Embiid has sat. The last instance was Saturday's one-point loss to the Boston Celtics when Jahlil Okafor scored 15 points as the starting center.

Okafor did not play Monday due to an illness and will not play Tuesday.

Without Embiid and Okafor, Richaun Holmes along with Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric will serve as Philadelphia's primary big men.

"You get thin real quick," Brown said prior to Monday's game. "Isn't it funny how life changes? First you have too many bigs. Now you don't have any. When we talk tomorrow, we're going to look around and not have a lot of bigs."

Besides Okafor, Robert Covington (left knee sprain, flu symptoms) and Jerryd Bayless (left wrist ligament) did not play and will not be available Tuesday.

"With our group, when you have no Jahlil, no Covington, there's just zero margin for error for whatever we are talking about," Brown said.
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