After Sunday’s brutal loss to James Harden and the Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz (5-5) return home tonight to face the Philadelphia 76ers (5-4). However, the visiting team will be trusting the process a little less tonight as Joel Embiid will not be participating. The team announced yesterday that Embiid would sit this one out for “load management” and it marks the second year in a row that he will rest during the Sixers’ trip to Rudy Gobert’s home court. I can’t say that I blame him. After all, would you want to take a little shine off your reputation by going up against this?
Yeah, I wouldn’t either. Rest up, Embiid.
When: Tuesday, November 7, 7 p.m.
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Joe Johnson (Right wrist) F - OUT
Dante Exum (Left shoulder) G -OUT
Joel Embiid (Load management) C - OUT
Markelle Fultz (Right shoulder) G - OUT
Jerryd Bayless (Right wrist) G - OUT
What To Watch For:
Ben Simmons, ROY frontrunner
I could watch Ben Simmons highlights all day. Barring injury, I don’t think there’s any way he doesn’t win this year’s Rookie of the Year award. In his first nine games in the NBA, Simmons has already recorded three triple doubles, including in his last outing vs the Indiana Pacers (14 pt, 11 reb, 11 ast). The only blemish to this kid’s game is he doesn’t have an outside shot. He’s attempted five 3-pointers and made none of them so far. If you look past that, though, you’ll see an insane all-around game. He’s at a 52% effective field goal percentage and is averaging 18 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. The Jazz’s best bet will be to try to make Simmons a shooter, but that’s much easier said than done.
Rodney Hood’s Shooting Slump
The Jazz need more consistency out of Rodney Hood if they want to be a serious playoff contender this season. Since Hood scored 25 on 9-of-15 shooting and 5-of-9 from 3 against the Mavericks last week, he’s 11-of-40 from the field and 3-of-13 from 3, including his 0-for-11 outing against the Blazers. On the season, Hood is shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc, which is what the Jazz offense needs in order to have space for the Utah big men to operate. However, they need a more consistent 40%, not this up-and-down game that Hood’s been playing. The Sixers are much improved this season. The Jazz probably need Hood to get going to win this one.
The Jazz are allowing opposing teams to hit 38.4% of their 3-point shots this season. In the last outing, James Harden hit 7-of-8 from outside and the Rockets shot 59% from 3. Before that, DeMar DeRozan hit 3-of-7 from 3 and the Raptors shot 37% from range. Sometimes players and teams are just going to get hot, but Utah’s defense also needs to do more to force them into tougher shots. As a team, Philadelphia shoots nearly 40% from 3, led by Robert Covington and J.J. Redick, who shoot a combined 13.8 3-pointers per game at over 46%. The perimeter defense is going to need to key in on those two.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: J.J. Redick
The Jazz are having a hard time guarding the three lately (See above). That’s not a great time to have Redick on the schedule. Utah’s backcourt will have to keep a close eye on the sharpshooter as he’s having a great year from beyond the arc even by his standards. Through nine games, Redick is shooting 43.5% from 3 on 6.6 attempts per game (which would be a career high shooting frequency). Last year in the playoff series against the Clippers, Joe Ingles was able to handcuff Redick effectively. Will Quin Snyder go back to that tonight?