ZACH Randolph returned in time to give the Memphis Grizzlies a big lift down the stretch and survived a scare against the slumping and short-handed Philadelphia Sixers, 96-91, on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) at the FedEx Forum.
Randolph scored six early points to help Memphis turn a 77-76 deficit into an 89-83 lead at the 4:56 mark of the fourth. But Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric teamed up on an 8-0 run to retake the lead with 1:57. Randolph then answered with a jumper, before Marc Gasol hit two free throws and came up with a big steal that led to Tony Allen adding one more point from the stripe to put the Grizzlies up, 94-91, with 32 ticks left.
Randolph then missed his charities on the next Memphis possession after forcing three straight misses from the Sixers, but Nik Stauskas’ three-point attempt to tie the game rimmed out with three seconds left. JaMychal Green sealed the Grizzlies win with two more free throws.
Three Memphis players finished with double-doubles led by Gasol who had 26 points and 12 rebounds. Randolph returned after taking a leave from the team due to the death of his mother, and chipped in 12 markers, eight in the fourth, and 14 boards off the bench. Green also added 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Grizzlies moved up to 15-8 with their fourth straight win.
Ilyasova finished with 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Sixers, who lost their eighth straight game and fell to 4-18. Saric had 17 off the bench, while Stauskas shot just 3-of-10 to end up with 12 markers. Joel Embiid sat out the game as part of the team’s strategy to rest the big man after playing on Monday against Denver.