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Apr 6, 2024 9:14 am

76ers aim to continue ascent in road clash vs. Grizzlies

Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers will carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday night’s game against the host Memphis Grizzlies.

In its most recent victory, Philadelphia (42-35) posted a 109-105 victory in Miami on Thursday behind Tyrese Maxey’s near-triple-double of 37 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. The win provided a boon to the 76ers’ pursuit of more favorable playoff positioning.

Another boost to the 76ers’ late-season push came Tuesday when reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid returned from an extended a 29-game absence due to torn meniscus in his left knee. Embiid scored 24 points in a 109-105 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday and added 29 against Miami.

“We’ve been missing a guy on our team for a long time, and he’s back. It makes it a lot easier not just on myself, but everybody in this organization,” Maxey told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “And not just because he scores … but the amount of attention he brings. He uplifts the spirits of everybody.”

While Maxey credits Embiid for uplifting the team, Embiid told reporters following the win over Oklahoma City that “this (injury) took a toll mentally.

“Still not where I’m supposed to be, especially mentally,” said Embiid, who as of Saturday morning was listed as questionable for the Memphis game due to his injury recovery. “I want to play, and any chance that I can be out there, I’m going to take it.”

Embiid is averaging 34.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game over his 36 appearances this season.

The Sixers last saw Memphis (27-50) during Embiid’s stint on the injured list, a 115-109 Grizzlies win on March 6.

Jaren Jackson Jr. collected 30 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Williams Jr. recorded 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Memphis’ win. That meeting with Philadelphia was part of the Grizzlies’ last winning streak of the season until the three-game run it brings into Saturday’s matchup.

Memphis notched a 108-90 victory over Detroit on Friday to secure for its first three-game winning streak since Jan. 22-26. Playing in just his sixth NBA game, Maozinha Pereira scored a career-best 17 points to match Trey Jemison for the team high.

Pereira and Jemison each posted career rebounding highs with nine and 13, respectively.

“When you sign a 10-day [contract], there’s a lot of taking advantage of the opportunity. You can definitely do it on the court, you can do it off the court. I think he’s done both,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of Pereira. “He got rewarded with a second 10-day. I think he’s maximizing it.”

Memphis dealing with a variety of absences has presented opportunities for players such as Pereira and Jemison.

Jackson, who scored 40 points on Monday against Detroit and 35 in a 111-101 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday, missed Friday’s game with right quadriceps tendinitis. The Grizzlies also were without Luke Kennard on Friday and have been without Santi Aldama for the last two games, Desmond Bane for the last four, and John Konchar for the last six.

Veteran guards Derrick Rose and Marcus Smart have been sidelined for lengthy stretches.

–Field Level Media

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