The Sixers (42-35) visited the Memphis Grizzlies (27-50) on Saturday. Philadelphia wanted to keep pace in the battle for the six-seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with a fourth straight win. Memphis wanted to play spoiler to Philadelphia's hopes of avoiding the Play-In tournament and win its fourth in a row. Joel Embiid went for 30 points and 12 rebounds in less than 23 minutes to power the Sixers to a 116-96 victory over the Grizzlies.

Before we get to the game, some notes.

Contextual Notes

The Sixers were without the services of Tobias Harris, who has a left knee contusion.

De'Anthony Melton remained out with bone stress in his lumbar spine. As did Robert Covington, who has a bone bruise in his left knee.

Mo Bamba is recovering from an illness and missed the game.

Nick Nurse started Kyle Lowry, Tyrese Maxey, Kelly Oubre Jr., Nico Batum, and Embiid.

The Grizzlies were without the services of Ja Morant, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Jaren Jackson Jr. missed the game with right quadriceps tendonitis.

Desmond Bane has a bulging lumbar disc and was out. Marcus Smart has a central slip tear in his right ring finger and was not available.

Luke Kennard missed the game with left knee soreness. Ziaire Williams was out with a strained hip flexor and right low back. Vince Williams Jr. has left patellar tendonitis and was out. Santi Aldama missed the game with right foot soreness. John Konchar was out with right plantar fasciitis. Jake LaRavia has left ankle soreness and was out.

Derrick Rose is recovering from low back and right groin injuries and was not available. Lamar Stevens missed the game with left groin soreness. Yuta Watanabe was out due to personal reasons.

Taylor Jenkins started Scotty Pippen Jr., Jordan Goodwin, GG Jackson, Maozinha Pereira, and Trey Jemison.


- It's time I touch on some of the steps KJ Martin has taken as this season has gone on. He still has significant warts to iron out as his career goes on, but Martin has clearly worked on playing with control when the ball is in his hands. He's gotten better at making the most of his minutes in the dunker's spot, using his vertical athleticism to his advantage at the rim.

When you play without control, you're going to make mistakes as your eyes process the floor and your body tries to do six things at once. That, of course, means you're going to miss layups because you're going to fast, commit offensive fouls because you bowl into defenders, or travel because you get excited at the opportunities in front of you. There was never going to be much to take away from this matchup; the G League Grizzlies counting down the days until Cancun against a mostly healthy Sixers team in desperate need of every victory to lock in playoff seeding down the stretch. But, I saw opportunities for Martin to make mistakes when he had the ball, and he did a great job of avoiding them.

We'll start with a possession in which he gathered the ball in his hands in traffic. He didn't panic as Grizzlies circled him, establishing his foot and pivoting to shed those defenders before going up at the rim. He also did a great job of keeping his foot down on up-fakes on another possession, waiting until every defender who could jump with him was already on their way down or in the air before rising for the finish.

- As I've written over and over again, the question was never about roster build or time to (re-)build chemistry once Embiid returned. And the early returns have largely supported that. This game offered the most tangible evidence of chemistry between Embiid and Lowry that we've seen yet.

Earlier in the week, Nurse mentioned that he wanted to try some actions with Lowry screening for Embiid because of the guard's prowess in using his body to get teammates open. So, in the second quarter, Lowry set a pin-down screen for Embiid as part of a corner split action with Oubre. Embiid curled into a catch-and-shoot three just above the left corner. A short while later, Embiid threw a behind-the-back pass to Lowry, who was running wide to space the floor in transition. Lowry caught the ball and immediately passed back to Embiid for an easy layup on the give-and-go. Showtime Sixers, everyone!

- I could not find the hard data on this, but I do not remember ever seeing Oubre finish with his right hand this season. He had two righty layups in the first half! Earthquake this week, solar eclipse on the way, and Oubre making right-handed layups.

- The Sixers were playing some relatively unserious basketball in the second half until Jeff Dowtin Jr. checked in, and then they put their foot down. That he's existed on a two-way contract for the majority of his NBA career probably tells you about his viability as a real rotation piece, but there's not a ton of variance in how he plays. That's probably why Nurse trusts him to the extent he does.


- For the first time in three games, Embiid had to make some adjustments. The fatigue wasn't his biggest foe on this night; it was his body. He visibly struggled with mobility, stumbling to the floor with the ball because his body couldn't move the way his mind wanted to on certain plays.

It wasn't just instances of losing the ball because he didn't have the balance to do what he had tried. I could be misinterpreting what I saw, but it looked like there were times in which he tried to make passes on the move and ended up throwing the ball away because his body couldn't get through space with the requisite agility.

You could see the slew of turnovers getting to him; after turning the ball over on back-to-back possessions, Embiid punched the floor twice in disgust with himself before taking a seat on the bench and facepalming.

That is to say, well, it turns out Embiid is human. The great thing about him coming back with time to spare in the regular season is that he can learn what his physical limitations are and what he still has to improve upon. It was never going to be perfect. Expecting that after a two-month layoff would've been foolish. That it frustrated him is also good because it shows he's aware of the disconnect and cares to correct it.

In some ways, it's why him playing against the hospital Grizzlies is important. It's an environment for trials and tribulations without risking another digit in the loss column with each blown possession.

- The Buddy Hield shooting woes did not end on this night. I will say, he doesn't wear missed threes on his face or in his body language. So, it's good that he doesn't seem to let slumps get to him.

The Sixers (43-35) will visit the San Antonio Spurs (19-58) on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., Eastern time. You can watch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Check Out Greater Atlantic City, NJ Area Athletes Who Played Games In NFL

Many people are not aware of the number of athletes from the Greater Atlantic City Region who have played in the National Football League. Football players who played at high schools in Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Ocean Counties have a strong representation in the NFL over the last few decades.

One of the most difficult accomplishments in sports is to make a Professional Sports Roster and earn the opportunity to play in a game at the highest level of the sport. Check out some of the great South Jersey Athletes who have played in games in the NFL:

Gallery Credit: Joshua Hennig/Townsquare Media

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