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Grizzlies Standout Breaks Down Game-Changing Block on Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers takes a shot against Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half at FedExForum on December 02, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee.

It is not often that players successfully meet Joel Embiid at the rim when he rises up for a dunk. The Philadelphia 76ers star has recorded some highlight-reel slams during his career due to his willingness to throw it down with authority. However, Embiid saw his shot swiped away by Jaren Jackson Jr. in the final seconds of the Sixers’ matchup with the Grizzlies. Had Embiid completed the dunk, the Sixers would have cut the lead to 115-111 with roughly 25 seconds left to play. The blocked shot ultimately shut the Sixers’ narrow window to win and the final score ended up 117-109 in Memphis’ favor.

Jaren Jackson Jr. meets Embiid at the rim to lock up the W pic.twitter.com/M9JdNiJcfe

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 3, 2022

Jackson Jr. Breaks Down Play

Following the matchup, the Grizzlies’ big man was asked about how he managed to come up with the crucial stop. The 23-year-old was not short on confidence and stated, “I saw him get a step on Steve, so I knew he was going to gather and go up. So, I knew the timing. I knew he was going to go up with two hands and protect the ball.  So, the only shot I got is right here at the rim, that’s my only chance…I can’t jump early or swipe early, it’s just not going to work for me. That’s what I was seeing. It helps when Steve-O was out there, he makes it really easy for us to come over and help,” per Ky Carlin of SixersWire.

Jackson also revealed how he learned from Embiid during the matchup and stated, “I’m looking at where I think he is going to put the ball, based on how many drives he’s done over the course of the game. Looking at (Steven Adams), because if Steve is in front, I’ll probably jump later, because he’ll probably do a second move on Steve, or don’t go at all because he’s covered.”

While Embiid still ended the matchup with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists, it was not enough to lead the Sixers to a win. Jackson Jr. also had an impressive game as he tallied 22 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks. After coming back from a stress fracture that kept him out for the first 14 games of the season, he has played an impactful role for the Grizzlies and will continue to fill this moving forward.

Tobias Harris hammers it down on Jaren Jackson Jr.‼ pic.twitter.com/bcyiBRoPAG

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 3, 2022

Sixers’ Comeback Effort Spoiled

While the Grizzlies maintained control of the game throughout most of the matchup, the Sixers did show signs of life late in the game. Philadelphia outscored Memphis 33-25 in the fourth quarter and went on a 24-12 run starting at the 9:14 mark. They cut the lead all the way down to six points on multiple occasions but were unable to surpass this in crunch time.

The Sixers’ bench unit particularly struggled in the matchup with each member of the backups recording a negative +/- rating. In contrast, the lowest +/- from the Grizzlies’ second unit was Brandon Clarke with a +9. Paul Reed did not have one of his better games and was limited to just six minutes on the court in which he tallied two points, two rebounds, two fouls, and was a -16.

James Harden is targeting a Monday homecoming return against the Rockets in Houston ???? pic.twitter.com/gao9Snzywl

— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) November 30, 2022

This is the second consecutive loss for the Sixers which drops their record to 12-11 on the year. Philadelphia will play its final game of this road trip in Houston on Monday where James Harden is expected to make his return to the floor. They then will have a seven-game homestand before their Christmas day matchup against the Knicks in New York. With Harden back in the lineup and back in front of the home fans, this is a massive chance for the team to continue their climb up the standings.

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