The Philadelphia 76ers are back in action tonight, as they play host to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Sixers, winners of eight of their last ten games, are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. If they can build on their momentum and secure a victory, they’ll find themselves 3.5 games back of the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors, and despite having a slightly worse win percentage than Milwaukee, the Sixers would technically be a half game up on the Bucks.
The Memphis Grizzlies are having a solid season in their own right. With a record of 13-8, the Grizz rank 5th in the murky Western Conference. Leading the charge for Memphis’ success is Marc Gasol, who at age 33 is playing some of the best basketball of his career. Gasol is averaging 18.3 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 4.0 apg and 3.1 stocks per game (steals + blocks), and he ranks #1 overall in ESPN’s real plus-minus out of 438 players.
The matchup to watch tonight will be Marc Gasol vs. Joel Embiid, two centers who also happen to be the MVPs of their respective teams (though at the moment, Gasol is listed as a GTD). The two faced off earlier this season on November 10th, and Gasol got the better of Joel. In that meeting, Joel shot just 4 of 15 from the floor, scoring 14 points (well below his season average) and turning the ball over six (!) times. Gasol on the other hand had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists as the Grizzlies won the game 112-106.
While Memphis toppled the Sixers less than a month ago, the Sixers will be playing in their own arena tonight and now employ Jimmy Butler. Marc Gasol is listed as a game-time decision, so even if he plays, he may not be at 100%. Vegas likes the Sixers, placing the Grizzlies as 7.5 point underdogs.
Prediction: the Sixers defeat the Grizzlies, 119-107.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
When: 6:00 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic