The Utah Jazz continue their 3 game road trip tonight with a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. After a historically bad performance in Boston the night before, Utah will hope to at least compete with another top team in the east in the 76ers. Philadelphia is coming off a loss of their own, losing to the New York Knicks by a whopping 38 points at home Friday night. Both of these teams should have a little bit of fire, which will hopefully make for a competitive and entertaining matchup.
Philadelphia enters this game as the 3rd best team in the east with a record of 23-11. While their most recent game is mildly concerning, it is more than likely just a blip against a new look Knicks team that they weren’t prepared for. Otherwise, Philadelphia has been enjoying a mostly dominant season where they are 13-5 at home. Led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid who is averaging almost 35 points and 12 rebounds per game this season, the 76ers create matchup problems for most opponents. The Jazz don’t really have a single player that can slow down Embiid so no doubt Philadelphia will be looking to get the big man going early on. The key for the 76ers though will be to apply their number one rated defense to slow the Jazz down so that this game doesn’t become a shootout which is always a dangerous proposition for the home team.
Utah realistically didn’t expect to sweep their 3 game road trip against the east’s top three teams. However, after shooting a dismal 36% the night before in Boston, the team will look to right the ship against another dominant defense in Philadelphia. Utah must control the tempo and pace of this game if they hope to have a chance. In addition to getting better shots and shooting better, they also need to be careful to take care of the ball as the 76ers are the number one team in steals so far this year. Philadelphia is just an average shooting team so the key to this game for Utah will be figuring out as team how to slow down Joel Embiid and apply defensive pressure on the perimeter so that they can limit Philadelphia’s offensive attack.
It’s always fun to watch a game where both teams are looking to get back on track after an ugly loss. Many fans may be ready to write the Jazz off in this one, and that is fair because they have been terrible on the road this season, but the Jazz have been looking more like a playoff team in their last 15 games. This is the first time in that stretch that they have faced some adversity and it will be interesting to see how or if they can bounce back. GO JAZZ!!
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
When: Saturday, January 6th, 5:30 MT
How to watch: The game can be watched on Jazz+ or KJZZ or heard on 97.5 FM