The Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up the past week with a win over the Sacramento Kings. When they knocked the Kings off in a thriller, the Sixers collected their fourth-straight win. Now, sitting third place in the Eastern Conference with a 30-19 record, the Sixers will play the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
Similar to the Sixers, the Grizzlies place third in their respective conference. Currently, on a three-game win streak, Memphis will enter Monday night's matchup in Philadelphia with an impressive 35-19 record.
Although the Sixers have been thriving as of late with wins over the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Kings, the 76ers know that they will have their hands full on Monday night as Memphis is on a whole other level compared to those four teams.
Following Saturday night's tight victory over the Kings, Sixers center Joel Embiid discussed the difficulty of facing the Grizzlies. While all eyes are typically on Memphis' thriving young star Ja Morant, Embiid acknowledged that with or without Morant, the Grizzlies are a stout opponent.
Praise for the Grizz
"They got a good team with or without [Ja Morant]," said Embiid on Saturday. "Even in the games that he missed, they were like 10-2 or something like that, so they got a pretty good team. Obviously, he's doing great just getting them going offensively, just being aggressive attacking the basket, and knocking down some big shots."
Embiid was close -- in the 13 games Morant didn't take the court -- the Grizzlies are 11-2. While they are certainly a much better team when the guy who averages 26 points is on the court, Memphis is a stellar team no matter what.
"To be able to compete against them and get the win, we're gonna have to do it as a team," Embiid explained. "[Desmond] Bane has been playing great for them this season. They've got a couple of good players, Jaren Jackson, so we gotta do it as a team, and we gotta worry about all of them."
The first time the Sixers and the Grizzlies went to battle, the 76ers looked a lot different than they have lately. With no Joel Embiid or Seth Curry, the Sixers had Andre Drummond and Furkan Korkmaz in the starting lineup. The Grizzlies took the Sixers down easily as Philadelphia collected a 126-91 blowout loss.
This time around, Curry is expected to play. However, Embiid won't take the court again as he's been ruled out due to rest. While Curry's presence can help make a difference, his shooting alone won't get the job done on Monday. The Sixers are going to need everybody to contribute, as Embiid mentioned, in order for the Sixers to pick up their most notable win in quite some time.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.