The Philadelphia 76ers picked up a loss in their first meeting of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Sixers’ road trip has not been kind to them, losing 117-109 in De’Anthony Melton’s return to Memphis. Although they didn’t get blown out like in their prior game, it wasn’t a super close contest throughout.
Head coach Doc Rivers pointed out that the Philadelphia bench did not have their best game. “Our bench didn’t play well tonight,” Rivers told reporters. “They’ve been great overall, they just struggled tonight. They struggled getting stops. I thought they struggled passing the ball to each other. Tonight, they had a very offensive mindset about them — holding the ball, dribbling into traffic.”
The struggles from the bench, which scored just 20 points, hurt the Sixers’ chances. But Rivers said that the game was still winnable. Failures in two other areas of the game that Philadelphia was preparing for caused the loss. Rivers explained what those focuses were. “We can’t turn the ball over against Memphis. They’re great in transition. The second thing is we have to fight for every offensive rebound. They destroyed us. There’s a lot of other things but those are the two things that stood out,” he said.
The Grizzlies’ ability to own the glass on both ends of the court and score so well in transition makes them a super tough opponent. The Sixers failed on both aspects, losing the transition points battle 24 to nine and the rebounding battle 64 to 50. Steven Adams completely dominated down low, securing 16 total rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end.
When asked if the loss can be explained by the absence of star guards James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, Doc Rivers dismissed the notion. “I don’t wanna use that as an excuse,” he said. “We gotta find a way to win. We know guys are out but I’m never gonna give us that. I’m just not.”
The Sixers will be back in action on Monday against the Houston Rockets to close out their road trip.