After the Sixers successfully welcomed back Joel Embiid to the court last night in a nine-point win over Minnesota, they’ll be right back at it tonight against the Grizzlies. The main question is whether Embiid will suit up for the back-to-back. Doc Rivers said after yesterday’s game that the team wouldn’t automatically sit Joel for back-to-backs, and they would see how he feels in such situations, although they would lean to ensuring proper rest. All of which is to say I’m not quite sure whether the big man will be on the court tonight. One positive is that the Sixers proved during Joel’s recent 10-game absence that they can still win games if he is sidelined.
The Grizzlies’ last game also came against the Timberwolves, a 12-point win Friday night in Memphis. The victory lifted Memphis back to .500 on the season; at 23-23, the Grizzlies sit in 9th place in the Western Conference, and could be looking at a play-in game for the second straight season. In the previous meeting between these clubs back in January, Memphis prevailed, 106-104, despite a game-high 28 points from Shake Milton; Embiid was out for that contest.
Back-to-backs are always difficult, and it didn’t help that the Sixers weren’t able to put Minnesota away last night until the final minutes. Embiid potentially being out would only reduce the margin of error for Philadelphia, especially with Jonas Valanciunas having such a fine season in the pivot for Memphis. We’ll await word on Joel’s status, and see whether the Sixers can dig deep to get the back-to-back sweep before hitting the road again for Tuesday’s game in Boston.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
When: 7:00pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Philadelphia: Joel Embiid - questionable (knee); George Hill - out (thumb)
Memphis: Justise Winslow - out (thigh); Jaren Jackson, Jr - out (knee); Jontay Porter - out (knee)