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3 Observations From Overtime Win Over the Grizzlies

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers played one of their best games of the season, extending their winning streak to five by defeating the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies 122-119 in overtime.

The Sixers were without Joel Embiid, who received a well-deserved rest day after playing in a career-long 21 consecutive games, and yet the rest of the team stepped up and earned a wild win in front of a packed house at the Wells Fargo Center. The team was also without Furkan Korkmaz (left knee soreness) and Shake Milton (back contusion).

The Grizzlies had a chance at the end of overtime, but rookie Ziaire Williams missed a three from the corner and Matisse Thybulle made a heads-up play to, as he was falling out of bounds, throw the rebound back to half court to seal the win.

Ja Morant showed why he is a special player for Memphis, finishing with 37 points, five rebounds and five assists. Desmond Bane added 34 points, including making five of nine attempts from deep, to go with seven rebounds.

Tobias Harris continued his good stretch of basketball, scoring 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting en route to helping the Sixers get their best win of the season thus far.

The Sixers continue to be one of the hottest teams in the league since mid-December. They have won 15 of their last 18 games and currently sit at 31-19 on the season. Here are some observations from the win:

Maxey, Morant duel was incredible to watch

Everyone knows Morant is a star player capable of making plays in the big moments. Tonight proved Tyrese Maxey is ready to step onto the stage of the other young, good guards in the league.

Embiid has been the team's leading scorer for 20 consecutive games, so someone else would have to step up and lead the way in his stead. Maxey stepped in and filled the role in a huge way right from the jump.

The Sixers had one of their best offensive quarters of the season, scoring 39 first-quarter points and receiving contributions from all throughout the lineup. Maxey scored 11 points in the opening frame. He was all over the court, making multiple contested finishes at the rim and also knocking down a pull-up three.

The Sixers' hot start was crucial to helping them get the win over Memphis. In addition to Maxey's good first quarter, Isaiah Joe came off the bench and scored nine points in a four-minute stretch early in the second quarter.

Maxey and Morant would go back and forth throughout the game, with the younger Maxey matching him nearly point for point. It was an incredible game all around for the Kentucky product, who finished with 33 points (13-of-23 shooting), eight assists and a career-high four blocks.

The Sixers came into the game prepared to stop Morant, and it worked for much of the first quarter. Thybulle stuck to him like glue, recording a steal and the nice block shown below.

However, Morant found ways to beat Philadelphia's defensive strategy throughout the game, effectively getting to his spots and causing a ton of trouble for the Sixers' defense. Maxey and the Sixers got the best of Morant and the Grizzlies in the end due to a variety of great performances from throughout the team's roster.

Drummond steps into the starter's role with ease

Andre Drummond has a ton of experience playing as a starting center, he did it all throughout his career. He was prepared to step into the starting lineup tonight, and he did an excellent job filling in for Embiid in all facets of the game.

The Grizzlies came into the game as the league's top rebounding team, but the Sixers out-rebounded them 49-48 on Monday due in key part to Drummond's huge game on the glass. He dominated the glass early and often, finishing with 23 rebounds total and 10 of them coming on the offensive end.

Drummond already had six points, 12 rebounds and five assists at halftime. He would have his hands full while trying to cover Morant at the rim in the second half, but overall he would go on to play an important role in the Sixers' victory.

One of the more incredible things from Drummond's night was that he played 43 minutes. Head coach Doc Rivers went to Charles Bassey as the backup center behind Drummond tonight, and he did not fair well in his nine minutes of action, grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots.

Overall, Drummond showed he is still very much capable of stepping into the starting role whenever necessary. He put together an all-around performance, finishing with 16 points, 23 boards, five assists, two steals and three blocks.

Curry shaking off rust from absence due to ankle injury

Seth Curry was one of the team's top scorers for most of this season. However, he recently returned from a four-game absence due to ankle soreness.

His shot has not fallen in the two games since his return to the lineup. He shot just 3-of-10 from the field in the win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, and his struggles continued over into the game against the Grizzlies.

It took him until the fourth quarter to make his first shot of the game, but once he did he began to get into a groove. After missing his first seven shots, he finished the game shooting 4-of-8 from the field, including this three from way downtown midway through the fourth quarter.

He would go on to finish the win over Memphis with nine points on an ugly 4-of-15 shooting (1-of-8 from deep). However, his performance in the fourth quarter as well as his eight assists are both bright signs he is beginning to return back to his normal level of play.

The Sixers wrap up their five-game home stand with a matchup against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

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