Tonight the Utah Jazz (19-13) will be hosting the Philadelphia 76ers (7-23) in the penultimate home game of the 2016 calendar year. The Jazz have a chance of winning tonight, then beating the Phoenix Suns (9-23) to finish December on a 3 game win streak. But like what we learned from the Sacramento Kings game (a 94-93 loss at home) — it’s important to actually finish the games instead of just count your wins before they happen. And as a result, tonight’s game — against a tired Philly team on a long road trip — counts as a trap game.
Philly, if you can believe it, is more injured than Utah is right now. Starting point guard Jerryd Bayless is out for the season. Assumed starter, and #1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ben Simmons, is also out for the year. Starting shooting guard Gerald Henderson is also out right now. Starting center Joel Embiid is out tonight for rest. And back-up center Richaun Holmes is not with the team due to the observance of the concussion protocol.
Utah, on the other hand, will only be down Alec Burks and Dante Exum as starting point guard George Hill will look to get some run in tonight. (I don’t know if he’s going to start, but it’s going to be great to have him back on the court.) And rookie Joel Bolomboy is back with the
Albuquerque Thunderbirds er, Utah Flash er, Idaho Stampede er, Salt Lake City Stars!
The Sixers have lost three in a row, and five of their last six games. Their lone win during this stretch happened on December 18th, a one point victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Yeah. This isn’t a good team right now and the Jazz SHOULD handle business at home.
Dude? It was Rudy vs. Joel. But I guess now it’s going to be something more esoteric, like Rodney Hood against Nik Stauskas? Trey Lyles against Dario Saric? Nah, for tonight it’s going to be the Jazz against the Jazz in this one. Take care of business, take care of the homecourt. Don’t let this team steal a win they shouldn’t have a chance to leave with.
George Hill made this team look Top 4 in the Western Conference. Will he help steer this squad back up the ranks? It starts tonight as he has to work his way back into playing shape and re-find his niche. Philly is the right team to test this out against.
Jazz win. Duh.