MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Dorell Wright seized the opportunity to step into the starting lineup in place of the injured Jason Richardson and responded with his best scoring performance of the season.
Wright scored 28 points and Spencer Hawes had 20, also a season high, and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 99-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Richardson's balky lower back allowed Wright to start his fifth game of the season. He connected on 8 of 11 from the field, part of the Sixers shooting 52 percent. Wright hit 5 of 8 from long range as Philadelphia made nine of its 16 shots outside the arc.
"It's a lot different," Wright said of the starting role. "That's what I did the last two years (in Golden State). Coming here, that was one of the things I had to sacrifice, coming off the bench. I've been happy with my role. Being able to step up in front for (Richardson) was great. I had the opportunity to make some shots and help the team win. It's always cool whatever job coach (Doug Collins) wants me to do."
Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday had 13 points each for Philadelphia, Holiday adding nine assists. Nick Young finished with 12 points. Hawes blocked five shots, part of Philadelphia recording a season-high 12 rejections.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Marc Gasol had 18 points and eight rebounds. Quincy Pondexter scored 13 and Mike Conley had 10 for Memphis, which lost its second straight.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said he didn't think his team's effort was "on par," and he didn't find the right combination of players who would run offensive schemes and play with the right intensity until it was too late in the fourth quarter.
"It's effort. It's effort on defense, and it's effort on offense," Hollins said. "We get the ball, we have to run up the court with some pace. We have to move the ball quickly. We've got too much ball-sticking. We have too much walking."
The Grizzlies played the game without leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was not with the team. Team officials listed his absence as "personal reasons."
The Sixers held a 16-2 advantage in fastbreak points and outrebounded the Grizzlies 38-37, despite Thaddeus Young, who averages a team-best 7.4 rebounds a game, ending the night with only two boards.
"You know what I was doing most of the night," Young said of his two rebounds. "Just pretty much face-guarding and trying to keep Zach and the other guys off the glass. But it is huge if we can get the rebounds, get out in transition and get easy buckets because (the Grizzlies) thrive off getting boards, offensive rebounds and getting in transition."
The Sixers took control of the game in the early stages of the fourth quarter, when they built the lead to as many as 15 points, enough of a buffer to endure a Memphis rally later in the period.
Continue reading this story on the...