What is it like to face a team that has lost 19 straight games? “It’s scary,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley admitted. That about summed up Conley & Co.’s mindset Saturday night entering the Wells Fargo Center. Memphis certainly didn’t want to be the squad that helped the dismal Philadelphia 76ers end a record-setting slide. And the Griz quickly made sure that losing to the Sixers became a remote possibility. Led by Conley’s offensive explosion to start the second half, the Grizzlies ended their four-game trip with a 103-77 rout, handing the Sixers a franchise-record-tying 20th straight loss. Conley had 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first nine minutes of the third period, single-handedly turning a nine-point halftime lead into a blowout. Memphis led 70-48 with three minutes to play before the fourth quarter began. The Griz were ahead by 29 points midway through the final period, and held the Sixers to a season-low in points. “We upped our energy offensively and defensively,” Griz guard Tony Allen said. “We were a little lackadaisical in the beginning. We were playing to the level of our competition.” Both teams were sloppy to start. The Griz turned the ball over 12 times in the first half. The Sixers committed 11 turnovers. But Memphis began to execute and was sharp the rest of the way. While the Griz looked very much like a high-level playoff team on both ends, the Sixers couldn’t get away from playing like a middle school team. They ran around aimlessly, took ill-advised shots and made poor passes. Philadelphia shot 37 percent and committed 22 turnovers. Memphis finished with 27 assists on 38 field goals. As one might imagine, the Griz enjoyed a number of layups and dunks. “We played our game,” Griz center Marc Gasol said. “I think every game should be with a high assist number. That’s how basketball should be played.” The Griz arrived here a bit anxious. The Sixers showed up with a little fight early but then appeared to accept another defeat without much resistance. The Griz were glad they could immediately play again one day after a tough loss Friday night at Toronto. The Sixers probably just wish their season would end. Philadelphia last lost 20 consecutive games in a season from Jan. 9, 1973-Feb. 11, 1973. They finished with a 9-73 record that season. The NBA record for consecutive losses in a season is 26 set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. “I try to ignore the comments about us losing however many straight,” Sixers guard Michael Carter-Williams said after scoring a team-high 23 points. Coach Dave Joerger said before the game that his Grizzlies can’t focus on its opponent as much as how they play. The Griz remain in a rhythm, having won five of their last six games. “We had a heck of a week,” Joerger said. “To go 3-1 on road If you do that all season long, you end up with 60 wins.” As the game changed Memphis’ reserves were mostly responsible for a 13-2 run that created some distance after the score was knotted at 22 in the second period. Conley had his way in the third. He scored in a number of ways, including drives to the basket, midrange shots, from long distance and free throws. “And he passed up a couple of shots,” Joerger said. Conley finished 5 of 9 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
Conley takes over in third quarter as Griz deal 76ers record-tying loss
Memphis Commercial Appeal | Mar 16