If you take a look at recent trends for the Sixers and the Jazz, who will square off tonight in Philly, you're going to notice some similarities. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10, both have lost back-to-back games, both allow 98 points per game. OK, that's pretty much where the similarities end. Utah is marching toward the playoffs, the Sixers...well, who knows where the Sixers are marching.
When I took a look at the remaining schedule and broke down what I thought the Sixers needed to do to make the playoffs, I had them winning either against Chicago on Wednesday, or this game tonight. Of course, they're already one game off the pace I set because of the Atalanta loss. So should we abandon all hope? Possibly, but if they can pull out this win tonight, they could make up the other win somewhere down the road (against the Nets maybe). A loss tonight, and well, we can probably stop saying the "p" word around these parts.
In their only meeting this season, the Sixers played the Jazz tough on their own court, falling 98-87 to Utah in early January. Utah has a great point in Deron Williams, a potent PF/C combo in Carlos Boozer and Memet Okur, and a versatile perimeter player with the best nickname in sports "AK 47."
The matchup of the night is going to be Iguodala on Kirilenko. They're both athletic, long swingmen. The Sixers will have trouble containing the Utah bigs. They can both step away from the hoop, Okur's range extends to three-point territory. If Dalembert is forced to step out and guard him, the Sixers could be up for another long night on the boards. Wllie Green has a good matchup tonight, Derek Fisher isn't going to kill anyone with his offense, and he can't stick with Green on defense.
Utah is coming off a Florida sweep at the hands of the Heat and the Magic, hopefully their woeful Eastern trip will last one more game. The Sixers played a tough, gutsy game the other night, but gave it away by not securing the defensive glass. I'm predicting a Sixers win because their backs are truly against the wall, and Iguodala is a money player (or at least I hope he is.)