Without Joel Embiid for the second night of a back-to-back, the Philadelphia 76ers suffered a rare loss at home with the Grizzlies cruising to a 116-100 win.
Embiid was listed as out for "left knee recovery" after finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes against Minnesota the night before.
It was a critical win for the Grizzlies, who moved back into the eight seed in the Western Conference with a 24-23 record.
Quiet scoring night for Ja
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Grizzlies 116 points was the fact that Ja Morant only contributed eight of those. Morant moved into facilitator mode in this one, taking just eight shots but registering 10 assists.
Averaging 19.3 points per game, it was just the third time this season the 21-year-old has failed to reach double-digits.
Remarkably, seven other Grizzlies players topped 10 points, with Dillon Brooks leading the way with 17.
how? how? how? 🤯@JaMorant | @DBane0625 pic.twitter.com/Katr1zGnHh- Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) April 5, 2021
Bench scoring comes through
The Grizzlies bench came through in a big way in this one, contributing 50 points. Brandon Clarke, Desmond Bane and De'Anthony Melton combined for 43 points, the the latter two finishing 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Ranked 12th for second unit scoring with 40.3 points per game, it's been feast or famine for the Grizzlies at times, with tonight the 13th time the bench has topped 50 points.
peep the dime after the bound. @JaMorant | @brandonclarke23 https://t.co/POSYBh3ogP pic.twitter.com/GpaFh86oWC- Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) April 5, 2021
Quiet night for Ben
Late in the fourth quarter, the Memphis broadcast mentioned that Simmons had recorded a "triple-single", crediting the excellent job the Grizzlies defence did of containing the Australian.
Simmons had just seven points to go along with seven boards and four assists. Attempting just six shots, the assist number fell well below his season average of 7.3 due to some terrible shooting from his Philadelphia teammates.
The Sixers finished 8-for-34 (23 percent) from three and 37-for-89 overall (41 percent).
Starting us off right.@BenSimmons25 ➡️ @DGreen_14 pic.twitter.com/uxaAA2326z- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 4, 2021
Rare home loss for Sixers as battle for top spot heats up
While the win was important for Memphis, the loss was equally impactful for Philadelphia in their race for the top seed in the East.
The loss dropped the Sixers to 34-16 on the season, leaving them in a tie record wise with the Brooklyn Nets. Milwaukee close to within 1.5 games after a 1-point win in Sacramento a day earlier.
Philadelphia will host Brooklyn later this month, before facing a back-to-back in Milwaukee in potentially critical matchups to determine playoff seeding.
Both teams will have one night off, with the Sixers then heading to Boston, while the Grizzlies will head South to meet the Heat in Miami.
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