PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown insisted it was “not slit-your-wrists time” before his team dropped its 20th straight game on Saturday night.
Memphis guard Mike Conley might have had a different view if the Sixers had managed to break their slide against the Grizzlies.
As it was, Conley scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, when the Grizzlies broke the game open en route to a 103-77 victory over Philadelphia.
“It’s scary (to face them),” Conley said later, “because they’re looking to get a win, and they’re going to do everything they can to get one.”
And Memphis, meanwhile, was playing its fourth game in five nights.
The Grizzlies (38-28), who won for the fifth time in six games and the 12th time in their last 16, nonetheless shot 54.3 percent from the field and limited the Sixers to 37.3 percent and a season-low point total.
Guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 23 points and forward Thaddeus Young had 20 points for Philadelphia (15-51), which matched the 1972-73 team for the longest skid in franchise history. That club finished 9-73, the worst record in NBA history.
The league record for consecutive losses is 26 by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
Philadelphia also dropped its 16th straight at home. The Sixers had previously broken the team record and are now three off the league mark of 19, established by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.
Forward Zach Randolph added 14 points for Memphis.
Conley’s third-quarter outburst enabled the Grizzlies to stretch a 45-36 halftime lead to 72-50. The Sixers never drew closer than 17 thereafter and trailed by as many as 29 in the fourth quarter.
“I was trying to be aggressive early in the third quarter,” Conley said. “I knew that I’d have opportunities. I just had to take them. I tried to do that, and we were able to extend the lead a little bit.”
Memphis coach Dave Joerger called the 6-foot-1 Conley “very efficient,” and added that he “figured out a way to get away from the young fella’s length,” a reference to the 6-6 Carter-Williams.
“I was trying to be a little bit quicker,” Conley said. “If you give him time, he can really get into you, and affect you. As soon as I got the ball, I tried to make my cut, make my move and not wait, and try to keep him off-balance that way.”
Center Marc Gasol, who scored 11 points, was the only other Memphis player in double figures. But all 13 Grizzlies played, and all of them scored.
Former Grizzlies guard Tony Wroten had 13 points for the Sixers.
“In order for us to win, we have to play the whole game,” Wroten said. “We’ve got to play together as a team and keep playing together on defense also.”
Brown said, “This period is not pleasant for anybody, but it’s necessary.”
Necessary for the team’s rebuilding process, a topic on which he had expounded before the game. And dead ahead for the Sixers is a stretch in which they face Indiana, Chicago, San Antonio and Houston.
“I hope,” Brown said, “we hold our head high and come out swinging.”
The Grizzlies, down 19-17 late in the first quarter, fashioned an 18-5 run in the next 6:28 to take a 35-24 lead with 5:37 left in the first half. Memphis did it with defense, limiting the Sixers to 2-for-11 shooting from the field during that span and holding them without a field goal for the first 4:49 of the second quarter.
The Sixers closed to 39-35 courtesy of an 11-3 flurry that featured six points by Carter-Williams, but by halftime the Grizzlies had pushed the lead to 45-36.
Carter-Williams scored 13 points and Young had 12 in the first half. Randolph topped Memphis with eight.
NOTES: Sixers G-F James Anderson injured his right quadriceps during the game and is not expected to travel to Indiana for Monday’s game against the Pacers. … The Sixers assigned F Arnett Moultrie to Delaware of the D-League. Moultrie appeared in 12 games for Philadelphia, averaging 3.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.6 minutes. “We want to send him down and let him play,” coach Brett Brown said. “He has to play basketball.” … Asked before the game how much motivation there is for his team to avoid being the team against which the Sixers break their extended skid, Memphis coach Dave Joerger said, “That’s human nature, maybe. But for us big picture and playing in the West, fighting every single game has been important. It’s the game we need to have, not the opponent.”
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