Philadelphia 76ers Look To Silence The Jazz In Utah

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia 76ers are headed to Utah. Joel Embiid is questionable as the Sixers look to close out their four-game road trip.

After losing two straight, the Sixers need a bounce-back game, but the odds are stacked against them. Utah has been an impressive team in the regular season and has only lost twice at home.


Utah Jazz

Mike Conley – Out (hamstring)

The Jazz will be without starting point guard Mike Conley tonight as he rests a nagging hamstring issue.

The crafty guard has been one of the primary reasons for the Jazz’ improvement. He’s been much improved over last season, averaging 16.5 points, 5.8 assists while shooting 41% from three.

Conley struggled last season in large part due to injury. A healthy Mike Conley makes all the difference for Utah, or at least one would think.

Though Conley has been a significant piece for the Jazz, they haven’t skipped a beat without him. Conley has missed four games in a row (not including tonight), and yet the team is 4-0 in those games.

Whether it be Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanović, or Joe Ingles, the Jazz have had players step up to fill in for Conley.

The Sixers clearly can’t take this team lightly, even without Conley.

Philadelphia 76ers

Shake Milton – Out (knee)

Joel Embiid – Questionable (back)

The Sixers are already without their sixth man Shake Milton, and they may be without their star, Joel Embiid.

Starting with Milton, his absence has been a significant factor in why the team has lost two straight. The Sixers aren’t the deepest team, to begin with, so losing Milton makes a bad situation worse.

While the loss of Milton stings, the potential loss of Embiid would be devastating. The Sixers are 1-4 this season without Embiid, a startling difference from their 17-5 record with him.

The Philadelphia 76ers are a completely different team without Embiid. If they have to go without him, a win may be a near-impossible task.

Matchup To Watch

Ben Simmons/Donovan Mitchell

The storyline is all too familiar. Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell have been linked for years. Since the former was named Rookie of the Year over the latter in 2018.

Since then, the “rivalry” has fizzled but it still could potentially become an exciting young rivalry with both teams at the top. The win column has been dominated by Simmons, but with the Jazz looking like the NBA’s team to beat, that could change soon.

Ben Simmons will have to take over the game if Joel Emiid isn’t able to go. That doesn’t mean scoring 30+ points (though it would help).

Pushing the pace and smothering the offense of the Jazz should be Simmons’ two primary goals. Especially his defense on Donovan Mitchell. Early on, it’ll likely be Danny Green/Matisse Thybulle on Mitchell. Still, you can expect Simmons to be the primary defender when it counts.

It will undoubtedly be a battle of two young stars’ desire to will their teams to victory.

Philadelphia 76ers Tip-Off

The Sixers wrap up their Western Conference swing tonight with a 9:00 PM EST tip-off. You can watch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live on 97.5 FM, the Fanatic.

This game will be a significant test with or without Embiid. A battle of the East and West’s top seeds makes for must-see tv.