Jazz Can Carry Momentum Into Break With Win Over 76ers

Mar 2, 2021, 5:04 PM
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will look to recapture their momentum when they face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

The Jazz have lost two out of three games for the first time since early January despite owning the league’s best record at 27-8.

The Philadelphia 76ers meanwhile are just 5-5 in their last 10 games despite owning the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Jazz Can Secure Momentum With Win Over 76ers

Though the Jazz own the best record in the NBA, their 1-2 performance to open their four-game road trip has slowed some of the team’s momentum heading into the All-Star break.

After looking nearly unbeatable during a stretch when they won 2o out of 21 games, the Jazz are now just 3-3 in their last six games including Monday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Jazz have already guaranteed themselves the best record in the NBA heading into the extended break but could rest more easily with a win over the East’s top-ranked team before the nine-day hiatus.

In the Jazz latest loss, they appeared to run out of games at halftime, a symptom coach Quin Snyder acknowledged, but said was no excuse for the team’s lack of execution.

“Every team in the league is going to be fatigued right now,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “That’s something we just have to play through. We can still communicate, we had breakdowns in pick and roll where he didn’t switch. Just a lot of different things and if you have to think harder and be more urgent, those are things that you can control.”

76ers Looking To Hold Onto Lead In East

While the Jazz look to gain momentum heading into the break, the 76ers are trying to fend off the Brooklyn Nets from overtaking them for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

While Philadelphia has played .500 basketball over the last 10 games, the Nets are 9-1 and sit just a half-game behind the 76ers for the top record in the East.

A 76ers loss paired with a Nets win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday would knock Philadelphia off their mantle as the conference leader.

Philly is coming off a 130-115 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday, marking their fifth victory in the last seven games.

Key Matchup

The key matchup between the Jazz and 76ers will pair the league’s MVP frontrunner against the NBA favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Joel Embiid is averaging 29.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists this year for the 76ers while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 41 percent from the free-throw line. The center has generated significant MVP buzz for leading Philadelphia to the top record in the Eastern so far this season.

Rudy Gobert meanwhile is averaging a career-high 2.8 blocks for the Jazz who own the third-best defensive rating in the NBA at 107.9. The 76ers own the league’s sixth-best defensive rating at 108.6.

Embiid was named a starter for the Eastern Conference in the upcoming All-Star game will Gobert earned reserve honors in the West.

The 76ers star didn’t play the last time these two teams faced off. The Jazz beat Philadelphia in mid-February without starting point guard Mike Conley.

The Jazz were led by Jordan Clarkson who scored 40 points off the bench, while 76ers guard Ben Simmons scored a career-high 42 points in the loss.

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Jazz Can Carry Momentum Into Break With Win Over 76ers