What's going on with the 76ers
Like the Utah Jazz the Philadelphia 76ers started off the season with two road games. Unlike the Utah Jazz, the 76ers looked good in both of those games, one a 4 point loss in Portland and the other a 20 point blowout win in Phoenix. The 76ers compete by playing tough defense, getting fast breaks when they can, and by hitting outside jump shots. In both of their first contests, the 76ers have shot more shots from 16 feet or farther than shots within 9 feet. But when they get a chance to shoot a close shot, they make them. And they are also shooting 15-36 (42%) from distance so far this year. In a lot of ways the sixers are the exact type of team the Jazz don't want to be seeing right now: athletes who can shoot the ball.
The sixers have essentially 6 players averaging double figures and are lead in scoring by their 6th man (Louis Williams who can both shoot you out of games and to blowout wins). Their best player is swingman Andre Iguodala, who while probably slightly overpaid, is quickly becoming the most underrated player in the league, since he's been written off as "not an all-star" by many NBA fans and writers. The Sixers have two other bench players in Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner who are probably both good enough to start for the Jazz today. And starting center Spencer Hawes is even looking like a good NBA player, so they certainly have some things going for them. David Locke mentioned in his morning tip-off that the Jazz could learn a lot from the Sixers in the way they defend and limit turnovers. But what Locke didn't mention is that the Sixers have much better defensive and overall players than the Jazz. Iguodala and starting point guard Jrue Holiday are both average to elite defenders for their positions.
What's Going On With the Jazz
Nothing much. Everything is pretty much standard at this point. Shuffling lineups and rotations. Starting the right types of players. Fixing a minor problem (Derrick Favors starting) that is probably 21st on a list of problems with the Jazz right now. I don't know if there is a Jazz fan that understands the direction of this team right now. If there is one, please let the rest of us know. I think we are getting close to the point where the team management needs to be a little more forthcoming with the fan base. I am guessing they are hoping for a big turnaround like last year after the first two blowout losses. The problem is that even last year's team was never very good. I better stop talking, or else I'll get worked up.
Starters: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes
Utah Jazz- (0-2)
Starters: Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson
What to Look For
If the Jazz are going to win this game, they are going to have to limit turnovers that lead to fast break points to Philadelphia. They are going to have to make shots, preferably ones at the rim and they are going to have to hope that Philadelphia goes cold from outside.
Expect the Jazz to play much better than the first two games, because they will play much better at home. We will have to see if the Jazz can keep it up for a whole game.
I think we should expect the Jazz to play better, but I must warn you that this Sixer team is above average. They are very good and will probably finish top 4 in the East, if I had to put my money on it. They are deep and will be able to fare well in a lockout season because none of their players have to log too many minutes. The Jazz do not match up well with them, as I mentioned and I would be pleasantly surprised if the Jazz were able to win this game. If it upsets you that I say that, I am sorry. I will lie to you next time and tell you the Jazz should win this game.