After their first loss of the season at the hands of the Pheonix Suns, the Sixers look to bounce back against the Utah Jazz. The road won’t be easy though as the Jazz are a team that has only gotten stronger this offseason.
The Jazz are 4-3 on this young season. However, take that record with a bit of salt. Two of those losses came from the LA Lakers and LA Clippers. This team is better than their record shows and they’re still establishing chemistry.
Adding sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic and Mr. Underated himself, Mike Conely, the Jazz hope to launch themselves from a playoff team to contender. The Jazz also added solid depth by signing Emmanuel Mudiay and Ed Davis.
Headlining this team is this their dynamic duo of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, two top-notch talents that will give you headaches on both sides of the ball. Mitchell is a young established star who can drop 30 in an instant. Gobert? Well, the native of France has certainly earned his title as the “Stifle Tower”.
Welcome back JoJo
Tonight we welcome back the heart and soul of this team, Joel Embiid. Embiid, returning from his two-game suspension for fighting Karl Anthony-Towns, will hopefully be well-rested for his matchup against Rudy Gobert.
Head to Head
Every time Embiid plays a fellow top center, the game is automatically a must-watch. The two have played each other three times with the Sixers winning two out of the three games. Embiid so far owns the matchup in wins and stats.
Joel Embiid: 20.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.0 blocks
Rudy Gobert: 12.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks
While Embiid seems to have the upper hand, Gobert is far more efficient. Both defensive studs, this will be a great matchup tonight.
With Joel Embiid back, the Sixers will once again return to form defensively. Both teams being defensive powerhouses will look to lock each other down.
Tonight will likely be a strong defensive showing which in today’s NBA means both teams will be under 110 points. The game will be physical with Embiid likely looking to instigate as soon as he’s back. Another storyline will be Donovan Mitchell since he apparently is unable to accept his ROY loss to Ben Simmons.
Speaking of Simmons, if the Sixers are going to win tonight, he will need to play much better than he did against the Suns. Simmons cannot continue to clog the lane as he has. No Ben Simmons is not a (insert Bostralian* accent here) bomber, but every team in the NBA will suffocate Philadelphia’s half-court offense if he never takes a jump shot.
When the dust settles, barring a bounce-back game by Ben Simmons, expect the Sixers to drop their second game in a row. Utah is due for a win. They’re at home, and this Sixers squad is feeling that loss to Pheonix.
*Bostralian – A mishmash of the Boston and Australian Dialects.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports