Mired in a season-worst three-game slide, the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers vie to put the clamps on their skid tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second contest of a four-game road trip from FedEx Forum. The unusual losing trend with Collins at the helm continued with Sunday's 92-91 loss at Minnesota, as Wolves All-Star forward Kevin Love sank a pair of free throws with one-tenth of a second left after an Andre Iguodala reach-in foul.
"We are four stops away from 24 wins. We played four games like that and lost all four," Collins told the team's website. "We lost to Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Andre Miller and [Kevin Love] today. It's a shame."
Thaddeus Young put the Sixers on top, 91-90, on an 18-foot jumper with 40.4 seconds left and finished with 10 points off the bench. Jrue Holiday led the team with 20 points, while Iguodala and Lou Williams finished with 13 points apiece for Philadelphia, which has lost five of seven and fell to 7-6 away from Wells Fargo Center this season. The Sixers are still 4 1/2 games ahead of both New York and Boston for division bragging rights.
The Sixers still have the Rockets and Pistons remaining on this road swing, and are first in the NBA in scoring defense (87.3 ppg). The last time they dropped four in a row was during a season-high five-game losing streak from Nov. 10-17, 2010. The Sixers have not scored 100 points in any of the past 15 games -- the longest streak below the century mark since a 15-game drought in December of the 2006-07 campaign.
Memphis has been a tough out at home this season as evidenced by its 12-5 ledger on Beale Street and will put a three-game home winning streak on the line Tuesday versus the Sixers.
The Grizzlies had won four in a row and six of seven games until suffering a 97-93 setback at Houston last night. Rudy Gay scored 23 points and Mike Conley netted 16 for the Grizzlies, who shot 48.1 percent from the floor and got 12 points and seven rebounds out of former Sixer Marreese Speights. Speights will face his former team for the first time since being traded on Jan. 4.
"We have to do our work early and we did for the most part. We had a little lax in the second half and that's what happened," Gay said. "We started off bad and we were fighting back ever since then."
The Grizzlies, who are undefeated when scoring 100 points in a game (8-0) and will also host Dallas on the short residency, saw head coach Lionel Hollins roam the floor in his 300th game. The winningest coach in Grizzlies history (135 wins), Hollins has coached a total of 236 games since being named the Grizzlies' boss on Jan. 25, 2009.
Memphis swept a home-and-home set with Philadelphia a year ago, but has lost 10 of the previous 15 matchups as the host in this series.