Jrue Holiday vs. the guy we're hoping he'll one day become. If that's not a reason to watch a Saturday night game, I don't know what is. It's the weekend, so let's do a brief preview and long game thread, all in one.
- PG: Jrue Holiday vs. Deron Williams
- SG: Jodie Meeks vs. Raja Bell
- SF: Andre Iguodala vs. Andrei Kirilenko
- PF: Elton Brand vs. Paul Millsap
- C: Spencer Hawes vs. Al Jefferson
OK, the main reason to watch this game is pretty clear. We've got two similar players going head to head in what promises to be an epic battle. Which big man is more lazy, Spencer Hawes or Al Jefferson? My money is on Hawes.
Seriously, though. Jrue Holiday vs. Deron Williams. We can only hope Jrue can some day learn to use his size the way Williams does at the point guard position. This will be a challenge on both ends of the floor, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the kid holds up.
As far as the Jazz are concerned, they're in the middle of a nightmare road trip. They lost at New Jersey, at Washington and got shellacked by the Celtics last night, in Boston. Unfortunately, Utah was out of the game so early they were able to rest their starters. Still, it's a back-to-back for the Jazz and they did have to play and travel last night. That's an advantage for the Sixers even if their regulars played less than 30 minutes.
If the Sixers are going to have any shot in this one, their defense is going to have to show up. Utah is an average defensive team, but they're sixth in the league in OFR. Williams, Kirilenko, Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward are all threats from deep. Millsap is a deceptively good inside scoring, despite being undersized. Al Jefferson is ... well, he's not terrible efficient, but he doesn't turn the ball over and he's got some low post moves. He's better than Hawes, that's for sure, but I'm not sure you have to devise a scheme to stop him.
On the offensive end, Brand is going to be a key. Jefferson's lazy and Millsap is small. They don't have a big body to put on Brand to bother him. The Sixers should look to EB early and often. Lou Williams is probably too quick for any of the Jazz guards, of course all the Jazz guards are too big for Lou to handle on the other end, so he's going to have to be very hot to be a net positive.
One thing to keep an eye on is whether Sloan decides to go small when Thad comes in at the four. Kirilenko is one of the few guys who has both the size and the quickness to give Thad serious problems and I'm wondering if Sloan will use his best defender to match up with Thad in those lineups.
Let's hope Utah keeps riding this wave of terrible road play. The Sixers need a win in the worst way.
PHI 104, UTA 97
This is your game thread, the tip is at 7:30pm. I'll be right here throughout. Join me if you've somehow recovered from the last two losses.