Embiid, 76ers Too Much For Jazz, Has The League Caught Up?
SALT LAKE CITY – Joel Embiid proved too much for the Utah Jazz in the Philadelphia 76ers 105-98 victory.
Embiid scored a career-high 59 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out eight assists, and blocked seven shots to become the first player in NBA history to record those stats in a single game.
Lauri Markkanen scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Malik Beasley scored 18 off the bench. As a unit, the Jazz shot just 39 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the three-point line.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 14, 2022
Embiid Was Brilliant, But Jazz Didn’t Help Themselves
Make no mistake, Joel Embiid’s night was truly one of a kind, and he’s the sole reason the 76ers won the game.
Philadelphia outscored the Jazz by 25 in Embiid’s 37 minutes, and were outscored by 18 in the eight minutes he was on the bench.
But as good as Embiid was, the Jazz did little to make his life difficult.
Embiid earned 24 trips to the foul line and knocked down 20 of his attempts. All too often, the Jazz fouled Embiid while he was far from the hoop and not in a position to score.
Other times, the team was simply too small to guard the 7-foot, 280-pound superstar.
FIFTY. SEVEN. pic.twitter.com/QudsKE5Fwm
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 14, 2022
Kelly Olynyk, Lauri Markkanen, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rudy Gay each got opportunities to guard Embiid and none of them found success.
Embiid knocked down 19-28 field goals connecting on mid-range jumpers against the Jazz bigger defenders and took the team’s smaller defenders to the paint.
When the Jazz double-teamed him, Embiid found his teammates for easy baskets.
Defensively, the Jazz repeatedly challenged the All-NBA center, and he responded by tying his career-high with seven blocks, five of which came at crucial points in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, Embiid proved to be unstoppable on Sunday night, but the Jazz did little to make his life difficult.
Mike Conley Has Gone Cold
Mike Conley will be happy to return to Utah after a rough go on the team’s three-game road trip.
The veteran guard averaged 4.3 points per game while shooting 4-21 over the last three outings, including 1-11 from the three-point line.
Stretches like these make it apparent that Conley’s age and size are beginning to take a toll on his performance.
Mike Conley's last two games have been ROUGH.
Bad pass to Vanderbilt there followed by a senseless foul to give Embiid freebies.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) November 14, 2022
The 35-year-old struggled to get this shot off inside the paint against bigger defenders, and when he’s unable to connect on three-pointers, he becomes a hesitant shooter and begins to force difficult passes.
As a result, Conley had three turnovers against the 76ers, matching his season-high.
The veteran has missed only one game this season due to rest, but as the schedule wears on, the team may want to find more opportunities to give Conley nights off. If they don’t his stretches of poor play may become more common than they can withstand.
Has The Sprint Ended?
It’s notable that the Jazz looked tired in their losses to the 76ers on Sunday, and the Washington Wizards on Saturday afternoon, despite having two days off before the games.
The Jazz were the surprise team of the NBA opening the year at 10-3, but their last two losses have looked a lot like the team most expected to see before the season began.
Markkanen was unimpactful in the fourth quarter scoring two points on 1-2 shooting while getting burned repeatedly by Embiid. Jordan Clarkson looked like the gunslinger of old scoring just 12 points on 4-15 shooting.
Kelly Olynyk, who shot 58 percent from three through the team’s first 11 games, is suddenly shooting 25 percent over his last three games.
Young teams can get off to hot starts to the NBA season by treating the 82-game schedule like a sprint, rather than a marathon and burning up loads of energy early in the year.
The Jazz have certainly jumped out to a hot start, the question is whether they sprinted to a quick 10 wins, or if they have more in the tank.
Ten of the team’s next 15 games are at home, can they match their 10-5 start to the season, or will the preseason expectations finally catch up to them?
The Jazz return to Utah to host the New York Knicks on Tuesday night at 7 pm MT. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The game will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.
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