The Philadelphia 76ers will take on the Utah Jazz Wednesday evening in Joel Embiid’s first game back from a two-game suspension. The Sixers are coming off a loss to the Phoenix Suns, a game that was a demonstration on just how valuable Embiid can be to Philly, as the Sixers shot a horrendous 40.6% around the rim while allowing the Suns to shoot 70.4% around the rim. With Joel back in the lineup, he and Rudy Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will be a key match up in tonight’s game.
The Jazz are coming off not one but two losses, dropping their most recent games to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings. On the season, the Jazz are 4-3, tied for the 7th best record in the Western Conference through the season’s first two weeks. Despite their average record, the Jazz have the NBA’s 6th best point differential at +5.7, a notch above the Sixers’ +5.6. The Jazz have found success playing stout defense — their 98.8 points per 100 possessions paces the NBA. They rebound the ball, force mistakes, and limit their fouls. On the other side of the floor, Quinn Snyder’s squad has been effective in the half court, but they haven’t executed in the transition and they don’t produce 2nd chances (their 19.7% OREB% is 29th in NBA).
Getting buckets against the Jazz’s defense won’t be easy, but they’ll have no walk in the park offensively either if the Sixers return to their bully ball mentality. With Embiid returning, look for the Sixers to embrace physicality in a battle between two defenses that could float around the League’s top 5 of the season when it’s all said and done.
All statistics are from Cleaning The Glass.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz
When: 9:00 pm ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City UT
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic