01/28/11 3:54 pm EST
This Friday, snow-crazy edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent victim, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Despite the Griz’s smooth offensive talents, their athleticism and the recent winning ways (5-3 in their last 8), we expect the Sixers to get a W tonight and establish their first four game winning streak of the season. However, we don’t think it’s going to be an easy W tonight (Even though the 76ers have won six of the last seven meetings between these squads).
The major issue for the Sixers tonight will be containing Memphis bigs Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. We all know that the Sixers struggle mightily with big men who can bang, rebound and score. It just so happens that in Z-bo (20 & 13) and Gasol (11 & 7) the Grizzlies have two bigs who can do all of those three things and together they form one of the best big men duos in the League. Additionally, Randolph is absolutely rolling right now. He is coming off his 12th consecutive double-double (32 double-doubles on the season) with 20 points and 16 rebounds vs. the Nets on Wednesday. Randolph is averaging 23.0 points and 14.7 rebounds during that 12-game stretch. Gasol has been no slouch of late either. In his last three runs, he’s hitting for 17.6 ppg. to go along with 10 rips per night. We’ll need a major effort from Brand, Hawes and Speights to keep Zach and Gasol under wraps, but it is not an impossible task.
We imagine the Sixers game plan will be to try pressure the Memphis perimeter players so that they can then get out a run on the OJ Mayo-less, road weary (4 straight away games) Grizzlies. The 7-6 should be able to do that successfully tonight as Memphis averages 14.4 turnovers a game. Thus, if Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes and the new, “improved” Mo Speights can keep the Grizzlies’ two bigs from taking over the game, we love the Sixers chances of extending their win streak to four games.
For a little more insight into the Grizzlies team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Chip Crain from 3 Shades of Blue.com to answer two questions on the Grizzlies from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Memphis squad from an insider’s perspective.