Updated, 9:07 p.m.
It has been a rough go of things for the Philadelphia 76ers recently. While the results of star center Joel Embiid’s MRI are front of mind, they will try to focus on avoiding dropping their fifth consecutive game on Thursday night.
In the final game of their current road trip, the Sixers travel to the Utah Jazz. And yes, they will be shorthanded. Again. Without Embiid, Paul Reed will hope to play the way he did against the Denver Nuggets last week to fill the void. Tyrese Maxey, who has missed the past three games with an ankle sprain, is available. Nico Batum is out with hamstring tightness, as is Marcus Morris Sr. with plantar fasciitis. De’Anthony Melton and Robert Covington remain out.
Meanwhile, the Jazz are healthy and looking to hit .500 at 24-25 on the season. Utah was actually on a bit of a heater from the end of December into mid-January, but have since slowed down, losing five of their last seven games.
Utah is led by 7-foot Lauri Markkanen, who is averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Without Embiid to match his size, it might be a challenge for the Sixers to slow him down tonight. The Sixers were without Embiid last time they faced the Jazz on Jan. 6, in fact, and Markkanen went off. He led all scorers with 33 points on 12-for-19 field goal shoooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Sixers’ home loss. Jordan Clarkson added 22 points for Utah. In that contest, the Jazz were able to sink 30-of-34 at the rim. The Sixers are going to have to show a bit more resistance on defense if they’re going to stand a chance shorthanded tonight.
This has just been an absolutely disastrous road trip for the Sixers. It really is a complete 180-degree turn in such a short time considering that Embiid’s franchise record-setting 70-point game was just last Monday. Truly, it’s hard to believe, but that was just 10 days ago. Since then, just about anything that could go wrong, has.
The Sixers are desperate for a silver lining to this trip out west, and managing at least one victory without Embiid to take back home would be better than nothing. At this point, protect the players you have, try to snag a win, and get the hell home back to Philadelphia.
The Sixers and Jazz tip off at 10 p.m. ET.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers at Utah Jazz
When: 10:00 pm EST
Where: Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic