Philadelphia at Memphis
Time: 6 PM ET (NBA LP)
Spread: MEM -12
Odds c/o Pincle
Things are just going about as poorly as possible for the Philadelphia 76ers, and given the top talents on the team it seems at least a little surprising. This year’s iteration of the 76ers though lacks the premier playmaking of Michael Carter Williams and it is beginning to look like a blunder to have dealt him to the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
The Sixers are now 0-17 and things are only getting worse with Jahlil Okafor facing legal issues for punching a man and Nerlens Noel is doubtful to play as well. Accordingly, the hosting Memphis Grizzlies are 12-point favorites over the East’s cellar dwelling team.
It is a pity, too, because the team certainly has its flashes within games. Last time out, the 76ers fell to the Houston Rockets by two points, and the team has been in a number of games this season. Not every night has been a blowout.
Okafor is posting 18 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, but against the Rockets he shot just 4 of 12 en route to only 11 points. Robert Covington came up big with a career night (28) points and the Sixers knocked down 16 triples. By all accounts it was a good showing, but it was an ‘L’ nevertheless. It also featured a 16-point comeback in the game, and HC Brett Brown said “It wasn’t a game where we were holding onto a lead,” alluding to a frequent problem for his team this year.
Noel is dealing with knee issues and the team has lost 27 straight dating back to last season. The 09-10 New Jersey Nets began the year 0-18, and the writing is on the wall that this season could potentially be equally as disastrous.
The Sixers just missed having the worst record last season before winning 85-77 to start the season 1-17. Moreover, Philly has lost five in a row to Memphis, despite forcing OT last season on Dec. 13. The last two games the Sixers are averaging a neg-20 differential against Memphis, and given the Grizzlies defense this could be a game that Philly has trouble putting the ball in the bucket.
Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee understands that plight as part of the horrible Nets team in 09-10. He said “You can say their backs are against the wall…(but) they’re playing pressure free and playing loose. Those are the most dangerous teams.”
The Grizzlies itself just snapped a four game skid and won 116-101 over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. The Grizzlies have given up just 92.5 points over its past four matchups against Philly though, while holding the Sixers to a woeful 42.2 percent field goal mark and knocking down 51 percent itself. That is a recipe for blowouts, no matter how well the Sixers hit the offensive boards.
Zach Randolph is a game-time decision and has missed the last five games with a right knee issue. He is averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while knocking down 72 percent of his shots (!). His status could be a deciding factor in whether the Grizz can cover the double digit spread.