The contest will serve as the second leg of a back-to-back for both teams, with both squads looking to bounce back from woeful Friday nights.
The Sixers fell to the New York Knicks last night in an all-around embarrassing display. They shot just 40.7 percent from the floor and an abysmal 26.1 percent from beyond the arc in a game within which they frankly just got completely outplayed by the Knicks.
To make matters worse, it was a physical game that may land a Sixer or two on the injury report. Joel Embiid appeared to twist his knee early in the first period last night and was in visible pain in a few moments throughout the contest. Head coach Nick Nurse said postgame that he expects the star center to be able to go for Saturday, but injury reports are not out at the time of writing to confirm his status just yet. Tobias Harris exited early last night from what was a pretty brutal game from him overall with left ankle soreness. Nurse said x-rays were negative and that there is a reasonable chance that he could play against the Jazz. De’Anthony Melton was out again last night with a lingering back injury. Nurse mentioned pregame that Melton would work out again before determining his status for Saturday’s game.
The Jazz had some Friday night blues of their own, falling 126-97 to the Celtics in Boston. The Celtics’ defense held the Jazz to just 15 points in the first quarter and ran away with the game from there. A key for Philadelphia will be emulating that Celtics defense and transition offense from last night. Boston turned 18 turnovers from the Jazz into 26 fast-break points in their blowout victory.
This should not be the most challenging night for the Sixers, and is the perfect opportunity to bounce back against a lesser opponent after last night’s disaster. The 23-11 Sixers have the edge over the 16-20 Jazz in almost every metric. That being said, the Jazz have won seven of their last 10, so the Sixers are going to have to at least be more put together than last night. They will have to slow down 7-foot Lauri Markkanen, who leads the Jazz averaging 23.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Markkanen was held to just 17 points and five rebounds in Utah’s loss last night.
The Sixers and Jazz tip off their first of two meetings this season at 7:30 p.m. ET in South Philadelphia.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic