MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Doc Rivers’ job is a tough one in regards to building on-court chemistry.
Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum was the sixth consecutive contest and seventh overall without his lineup intact.
As has been the case in most of those games, the Sixers lost. This time, the outcome was 106-104.
The Sixers dropped to 9-5. They’re 7-0 when Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, and Ben Simmons all play. They’re 2-5 when at least one of the starters doesn’t play. Even that’s a bit misleading, considering their two victories came against a Miami Heat squad with just eight available players. All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo weren’t among those eight.
Against the Grizzlies (6-6), the Sixers were without Embiid and Curry. The duo’s absence wasn’t the only thing that doomed them. The Sixers committed 23 turnovers.
The last one came with 5.9 seconds left and the Sixers down, 105-104. Tobias Harris picked up his dribble and stepped on the baseline under his own basket.
The Grizzlies failed to score a basket in the final 4 minutes, 28 seconds. Yet, the Sixers suffered their seventh straight loss to Memphis at the FedEx Forum. Their last victory in the building came on Dec. 26, 2012.
Shake Milton led all scorers with 28 points. Harris had 21, while Simmons finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, and seven turnovers. The Grizzlies’ Ja Morant finished with 17 points after missing the previous eight games with a sprained left ankle.
Curry has been sidelined for six games, the last five for being in the NBA’s health and safety protocol after testing positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 7. He missed that night’s game because of a sore left ankle. Meanwhile, Embiid didn’t travel with the Sixers for their two-game road trip to Memphis and Oklahoma City (Sunday) due to right knee pain.
The Sixers were also without reserves Furkan Korkmaz (left groin strain) and Mike Scott (right knee soreness). While they are both solid players, the Sixers lose a lot when missing at least one of their starters.