For a team that is largely overlooked by NBA fans, the Memphis Grizzlies are doing quite well for themselves. The team is currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak. They are hoping to extend that to six against a rebuilding team. On Wednesday, the Grizzlies will be taking on the Philadelphia 76ers, as reported by ESPN.
Even though they signed Mike Conley to a record-breaking deal and were expecting a healthy Marc Gasol to return, very few people gave the Memphis Grizzlies much of a chance at winning an NBA championship this season. Many were under the impression that they were not going to make the playoffs at all. On paper, they were expected to be lucky just to sneak into the postseason with the eighth seed.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, games are not played on paper. They are played on the court.
Right now, Memphis is sitting on a 9-5 record and looking like a solid contender in the Western Conference. Things were looking pretty bleak earlier in the month when the team was sitting on a 4-5 record. Thanks to a five-game winning streak, things have turned around quite a bit for the team.
Marc Gasol has long been considered one of the best centers in the NBA. He was a throwback to a couple of decades ago when big men would score with their back to the basket. Since the National Basketball Association has evolved, Gasol has decided that he needed to do the same thing with his game if he wanted to keep up. The 6-foot-11 center has now added a three-point shot to his arsenal.
Another center that has shown a knack for being able to hit shots from beyond the three-point line is Joel Embiid. Now that he is seemingly healthy, the former Kansas star is giving Philadelphia 76ers fans some hope because he might blossom into one of the better front court players in the NBA. Embiid has enabled the team to feel a little more confident in trading away Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, two other young prospects.
The battle between Marc Gasol and Joel Embiid should be a rather interesting one to watch. It will certainly be a great chance for Embiid to further prove to NBA fans that he can go toe to toe with one of the more established basketball players in the world.
Though they still have a good chance of beating the Philadelphia 76ers without him, the Memphis Grizzlies would have liked to have Chandler Parsons around. The 6-foot-10 forward is going to miss some more games because of another injury to his leg. Parsons was signed to a huge free agent contract over the summer, but his health has prevented him from providing more to the Grizzlies.
At the end of the day, the game will more than likely be decided by how well Mike Conley plays. Since he is one of the highest-paid players in the history of the NBA, expectations are much higher. However, Conley has not allowed that to get into his head. He is playing well and playing at his own pace. The former Ohio State Buckeyes star will be going up against a Philadelphia 76ers back court that is lacking in depth and talent.
The Memphis Grizzlies are coming off of consecutive victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Utah Jazz. There is a good amount of momentum behind the squad, so they are hoping to carry that into their game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]