Game thread: Utah Jazz face tall task on back-to-back in Philly

After a disappointing road trip thus far, the odds of the Utah Jazz finding success on a back-to-back contest in Philadelphia feel slim.

We all knew going into the Utah Jazz’s current road trip that it was going to be a doozy. But I’m not sure even the most pessimistic of fans would have projected it to be as bad as it’s been. After a close scrape against Milwaukee in a game that Rudy Gobert sat out with an ankle injury and might have been won if Utah had executed just a bit better, the Jazz went on to be blown out by the Indiana Pacers.

After that, they only just avoided a three-game losing streak due to a comeback against the lowly Memphis Grizzlies who originally dominated the first half. Sure, the Jazz got the coveted W, but it came in about the ugliest fashion imaginable, especially against such a lackluster team.

But from there, the road trip hit an all-time low. The Utah Jazz came into Toronto absolutely flat-footed as they would ultimately find themselves in the worst first-half deficit in team history. That’s right, the Raptors led by 40, 77-37, to conclude the second quarter. Yikes.

The Jazz would make it interesting in the third, scoring a franchise-high 49 points in the quarter, to cut the lead below 20, but it was largely for naught. As good as the Jazz looked in that third period, it was a bit misleading as the Raptors had clearly let off the gas.

Coming off the heels of a humbling loss, four straight road games, and preparing to play their third game in four nights, it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of Jazz team we get against the Philadelphia 76ers. Will they be angry and looking to make a big statement bounce-back after being embarrassed in Toronto? Or will they simply buckle against a physical and powerful Sixers team that, like the Raptors, remains undefeated at home?

The Jazz will very likely be fatigued coming into this bout, which could prove to be their demise, especially if they got off to the sluggish start they showed on Sunday. The 76ers have won three straight games and are coming off an impressive late-game victory over a tough Indiana Pacers squad in which Joel Embiid went off for 32 points. They have found a groove of late and their imposing size and will may very much prove to be far too much for Utah to handle.

Utah got the best of the Sixers in the last meeting, but it was by the narrowest of margins and in a game where Ben Simmons left early in the contest with a shoulder injury. Considering the scheduling disadvantage the road-weary Jazz are facing while the Sixers come in with a day of rest between games, Utah will have to find some incredible reserve energy to hand Philly their first home loss of the season.

Game Data

Broadcast Info

Tip-off: 5:00 PM MT on December 2 from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
TV: NBA TV, AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM & 1280 AM Salt Lake City)

Projected Starting Lineups

Utah JazzPositionIndiana Pacers
Rudy GobertCJoel Embiid
Royce O’NealePFAl Horford
Bojan BogdanovicSFTobias Harris
Donovan MitchellSGFurkan Korkmaz
Mike ConleyPGBen Simmons

 

Injuries

For the Jazz’s part, they should be fully healthy for the upcoming contest. Meanwhile, the 76ers remain without Josh Richardson who is dealing with a hamstring injury and former Jazzman Trey Burke will also be out of commission due to illness.

Prediction

I have zero expectations for this one. I pinned this game as a loss coming into the trip, and that was before I saw the horrific effort in Toronto. Considering how tired the Jazz will likely be for this contest, how good the Sixers are at home and the troubling matchup issues they can cause, I’m expecting Philly to win in a blowout.

According to The Action Network, the Sixers are just 4.5-point favorites, but I’m expecting them to cover easily with a 121-103 victory.

Next: Can Utah Jazz catch Los Angeles Lakers once schedules balance out?

Discussion

#UTAatPHI is the Twitter hashtag for the upcoming bout. The live comment thread below will be up and rolling throughout the game as well. Go Jazz!