On the back of a two-game winning streak, with All-Star weekend a month away, it’s the perfect time to get in the spirit of the events being hosted in Salt Lake City by honoring former participants who represented the Jazz.
That’s exactly what they’ll be doing tonight when Utah hosts the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jazz announce Deron Williams, Memo Okur, and Truck Robinson will be at the Jazz game tomorrow vs. PHI, and they’ll be honored on court during the 2nd quarter.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) January 13, 2023
(All were former All-Stars, Jazz further promoting All-Star Weekend)
Many probably remember Deron Williams representing the Jazz in two All-Star games of 2010 and 2011. Mehmet Okur also represented Utah a couple years earlier in 2007. Truck Robinson, however, made an All-Star appearance on behalf of the New Orleans Jazz in 1978,
All will be celebrated tonight as everyone gets ready for the event!
Tonight’s game will feature surefire All-Stars in Lauri Markkanen and Joel Embiid, plus former All-Stars in Mike Conley and James Harden. Philly begins a long, west coast road trip tonight and are in a position to advance or slide in the East standings.
Let’s break down the matchup!
The 25-16 Philadelphia 76ers have been fraught with issues this season from injuries to playing down to their competition to star guard James Harden commenting he’s open to returning to the Houston Rockets.
Still, they boast the East’s 5th best record and just 2 games out of the 2nd seed, led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid who averages 33.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 3.8 turnovers on +6.5% adjusted true shooting.
Jazz fans will remember the matchup earlier this year where Embiid put up an all-time performance where Utah faded late:
The Jazz will again have their hands full with a top-two center in the league with the team likely down center Kelly Olynyk again.
The 76ers kick off a big road trip and a very important stretch tonight. Their next matchups are at Lakers, at Clippers, at Blazers, at Kings, vs Nets, vs Nuggets. This stretch will tell a lot about the team.
Philadelphia is the league’s 4th best defense where they excel in the half-court. What turned out to be the bugaboo during the last matchup was Utah being unable to score. They had their 2nd worst offensive game of the entire season. To turn things around, Jazz need to manufacture offense.
Conversely on the season, the 22-23 Utah Jazz have the 4th ranked offense, built on the foundation of good shot distribution, excellent shooters, and elite efficiency from Lauri Markkanen.
Both Lauri and Collin thrive off of their presence and efficiency at the rim. With Joel Embiid lurking as an elite rim protector, that caused serious problems in the last matchup and Utah will have to work out how to get Joel moving away from the rim defensively.
At 7’0”, Lauri is the perfect guy to pull Embiid with his 3P stroke, handle, and abilities at the rim. In fact, he’s become the best balance of threes and dunks of anyone in the league!
Jazz will need a special, special outing from Markkanen tonight, unlike last time where he scored 15 points on 13 shots, snagging 10 boards and recording 0 assists. We’ll see if Lauri can further solidify his All-Star case tonight of all night’s when we celebrate All-Stars of years past.
Per NBA.com at 10:30 AM MST, the Philadelphia 76ers have but one rotation player listed on the injury report:
- Starting forward Tobias Harris is questionable with left knee soreness
Harris suited up for 33 minutes in the team’s last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. We should expect him to suit up.
The Utah Jazz will have several players missing tonight’s game:
The @utahjazz Injury Report (as of 1/14):— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) January 14, 2023
QUESTIONABLE - Lauri Markkanen (left hip contusion)
OUT - Rudy Gay (left low back spasm)
OUT - Kelly Olynyk (left ankle sprain)
OUT - Collin Sexton (right hamstring injury maintenance)
OUT - Johnny Juzang (G League - Two-Way)
When: 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone