Prior to the Phoenix game, we talked about how beating bad teams is the first step to becoming a good team. Well, the second step is to beat bad teams regularly, and thoroughly. Tonight, the Sixers have a chance to take that second step in Utah.
Prior to the season, I had this game as a letdown loss, the only loss of the trip, actually. Well, they got their taste of losing out of the way in Portland, so I'm going to change my prediction. The Sixers are clearly the better team in this matchup, defensively they should be able to not only shut down the Jazz, but dominate them and create transition opportunities for themselves on the other end.
The only way they'll run into trouble on the defensive end is if they don't press the issue, and they let the Jazz methodically work the ball to their bigs. Make their perimeter players take shots, and when a shot goes up, put your body on a man. Keep the Jazz off the offensive glass. Make them make shots to beat you, they aren't capable.
Get this win without needing 35+ minutes from Iguodala and Brand and you're set up for tomorrow night in Oakland. More importantly, though, just get the win.
The tip is at 9 p.m., Eastern. I'll be right here throughout. Join me if you think Karl Malone shakes his head every time Al Jefferson take a fadeaway 18-footer.
Prediction: PHI 105, UTA 89