By Harry Allison
When you are the worst team in the NBA, it might be a stretch to call any defeat heart-breaking.
However, when you are the worst team in the league, losing a game after holding an 18-point lead with seven minutes to go certainly qualifies.
Especially when you are at home in the Wells Fargo Center, where you still haven’t won a game.
Mike Conley hit the tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and scored a career-high 36 points, leading the Memphis Grizzlies past the Sixers, 120-115 on Saturday night.
Conley sparked a Grizzlies rally from 18 points down over the final 7 minutes of regulation to keep the Sixers winless at home. Conley scored 16 points in the fourth and kept Memphis in the hunt for best record in the Western Conference.
Michael Carter-Williams (photo above) had a triple-double for the Sixers with 16 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. But a handful of turnovers and poor shot selection helped doom the Sixers in the fourth and OT.
The Sixers are the only winless team at home in the NBA at 0-12.
The Sixers led 95-77 with 7:39 left in the fourth when the Grizzlies started to storm back.
Conley buried a 3 to make it 102-97 and Beno Udrih hit one to keep the Grizzlies within six. Conley struck again with another 3-pointer with 45 seconds left and it was suddenly 107-104.
The Sixers unraveled down the stretch. Carter-Williams was whistled for a push-off and Hollis Thompson was called for goaltending to help the Grizzlies pull within one.
Thompson, who scored 21 points, appeared to seal the rare win with a pair of free throws.
But Conley was left open to bury the 25-footer and tie the game at 109. Conley made 4 of 5 3-pointers in the fourth and scored 16 points without attempting a free throw.
Conley delivered in OT, too. His 3 with 23 seconds left pushed the lead to 119-112 and thwarted any last-gasp effort of a Sixers rally.
Carter-Williams had five of his six turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I was trying to do too much,” Carter-Williams said.
“I want to stand here and tell everybody that it’s a great learning experience, and there’s some truth to that,” coach Brett Brown said. “But the truth of the matter is, that’s a gut-wrenching loss. That’s a fact. I feel for those guys.”