The amazing thing about the Sixers loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night isn't how badly they were beaten, it's that it was really the first game they should've won, but didn't, in nearly two months. Tonight, they need to get back on track, they can't afford even a week-long dip at this point of the season.
The stars seem to be aligning for the Sixers. Apparently, the Jazz will definitely be without the services of Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Francisco Elson and Ronnie Price. Gordon Haywood is questionable and Raja Bell is a game-time decision.
Since trading away their superstar, the Jazz have dropped 7 out of 10 games. They're super thin, especially up front. There's no other way to put it, this game must be a win.
Jrue vs. Devin Harris should be a fun matchup. The last time these teams me, Jerry Sloan decided to use AK47 off the bench to counter Thad at the four, I doubt Tyrone Corbin will have that luxury tonight, in fact, I think Utah will probably have to go small for most of the game, which should favor the Sixers in a big way.
The Jazz are essentially a poor defensive team, but they do force a fair number of turnovers. More than looking for keys specific to beating the Jazz, I'm going to look for improvement from the Sixers in the areas they struggled mightily against the Bucks on Saturday. Turnovers is number one on my list. Jrue had another very bad game in that department after two solid games. Even Iguodala has been coughing it up with more frequency of late.
Overall, the team needs to right the ship immediately. This road trip doesn't look terribly challenging on paper, but you can't take teams lightly on the road, not even tragically bad teams. Go out, execute your game plan, take care of the ball, and hopefully put these teams away early enough to steal some minutes for your starters late in the games. That's the goal, and it starts tonight in Utah.
Prediction: PHI 110, UTA 97
The tip is at 9pm, game thread will land around 7, probably.