Snapshots: Jazz crushes Sixers in flat-out performance for Philadelphia

The Sixers and the Jazz were both in the second half of back-to-back games Thursday, but only one looked like a tired team, with Utah kicking off a major kick in a 118-96 victory over Philadelphia.

This is what I saw.


• Joel Embiid hasn’t exactly been the master of back-to-back games in his career, in part because he was never supposed to play there early in his tenure with the Sixers. As the practice wheels came loose in the years that followed, Philadelphia relied on him a lot more, but it’s not often that you see the franchise player at his best after playing the night before (and in all fairness, most people don’t).

True to form, Embiid melted into it after an electric start to the match. But the start was one of the few things to write home about in this one, and a clash with Rudy Gobert and Hassaan Whiteside is as close as you’re going to get a personal batting signal for the big guy.

Embiid’s hot start against Utah was all about the jumper, and it looks like Embiid could finally find the lineup after a slow start to the year. Embiid hit a few tough midrange jumpers on Gobert, came out for a three, and even let a heat test pass, sadly this one even though he felt good.

Then it was time for Whiteside to keep it, and, well, that led to one of the highlights of his career transition:

The fun was pretty much over after that, so I hope you all were able to enjoy it while it lasted. Thanks to Rudy Gobert for making Embiid work for him as the game progressed, essentially stopping him over time.

The bad

• Trying to get Donovan Mitchell to shoot a million shots is a defensive strategy I really agree with, even when he’s in the middle of a hot stretch like he’s been lately. If Utah is solely dependent on Mitchell and Mitchell to craft his jumpers, you might be lucky enough to see him get cold at some point and then his Perimeter sidekicks need to find their form late in the game, which isn’t always easy to do.

But if that was the game plan for the Sixers on Thursday night, there had to be more than just dropping the big one and giving him three steps after three steps, which is how they chose to approach him a lot Du Letting a player like Mitchell shoot lines without real pressure on him is problematic, and as expected, Mitchell boxed a ton of open threes against Philadelphia, carrying Utah’s offense even when they didn’t. had nothing else to do.

I imagine part of the problem was fatigue during the second half of a back-to-back, because even though the falling blanket was the plan, Embiid didn’t even try to pretend he was going to reach the level on some possessions. There was a first-half possession where Embiid was in the paint away from the play when Mitchell performed a high pick-and-roll, and there were far too many plays where individual Sixers have posted him and have. condemned their teammates.

It’s not as if there was a rest advantage to report for the Jazz, who played just like the Sixers the day before. They’re a better team than Philly right now, but they also had a more professional (and understandable) approach on several fronts.

• Andre Drummond has been in pretty good shape lately, but he absolutely got his ass kicked in this one. Rather than anchoring Rudy Gobert in the minutes of Joel Embiid, the Jazz opted to use a Mike Conley / Gobert-led formation with guys from the bench to attack the group from all benches in Philly, and that didn’t happen. did not go well for Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Backup Center just didn’t know what to do or where to be against Utah, and in all fairness the Jazz are very good at moving pieces where they want them to be in preparation for their attack, using a lot of picking. -and bred. – roll up to do one of two things – generate those three open Mitchell’s we talked about, or create opportunities for their guards to go to the basket. But Drummond also didn’t do well when the reads and requests were basic stuff, and the legs weren’t there in the second half of a back-to-back. Several times there have been lobs that have gone to Gobert or Whiteside and he never even left the ground. He lost the battle of the big save hands down.

Drummond’s offense was an even bigger struggle, and you had to go into the night expecting that with Gobert’s ability to lock the paint down. But Drummond’s inability to score was compounded by his adventurous passing decisions, flipping the ball over to put the icing on the cake of a crappy sundae.

It was that kind of night: Drummond fell out of bounds trying to save a game with restlessness in the third quarter, and he went straight to Whiteside near the Philly basket, forcing the Sixers to foul. Go get them on Saturday, big boy, and shake this one.

• It took us a while to get on the offense, but you can’t tell the story of this game without noting that Philly shot like garbage over the three point line. They were 6/26 since the start of the fourth quarter of that game and eventually finished 6/33, managing to make exactly zero threes in the fourth quarter of a game in which they were lagging behind.

Part of the problem, however, is where and to whom the shots were delivered. Matisse Thybulle was tied for the team lead in three-point attempts with five to three quarters, which is a problem for a team whose success depends heavily on how they shoot all three. The Jazz were happy to ignore Thybulle early and often Thursday night, and although he made one of his first-half attempts, most of the others didn’t even come close to getting in.

(To be a little positive on Thybulle, he finally had some good times against Utah annear what seemed like a never-ending string of bad games. There were a few rim scoring games in the first half, and for a while it looked like Wells Fargo Center’s friendly limits would be enough to get him back in good shape. Turns out it wasn’t.)

Let us return to the current case. There’s just no way someone like Tobias Harris, who earns a ton of money ostensibly for his scoring ability, should get through long stretches of play without a deep attempt. He took a peek on a first-half attempt with a nice find from Seth Curry, and it took him until the fourth quarter to equalize attempt three more. It would be one thing if he was constantly faced with tough fences that prompt him to dive in and pet two (word to Marc Zumoff), but that’s not how it usually happens for Harris.

Elsewhere in the role-playing division, Danny Green was just a complete mess on offense, repeatedly overdribbling without knocking anything down from the outside. When Green goes bad he can look as bad or worse than anyone on the team, but they don’t really have the luxury of benching him because the rest of their wing types are a full mystery box night after night, and a collection of one-sided gamers, even on their best nights.

• Tobias Harris is not doing well in almost every way right now, and given some of the health issues he has been dealing with (body parts and respiratory ailments), you must be wondering if he will be at 100 anytime soon. percent. He finds himself unable to use his pace to pass the bigger players and not strong enough to intimidate the smaller guys, and that leaves Harris at the mercy of his midrange touch, contested midrange looks to that. .

To put it mildly, they don’t have the talent or the depth to overcome Harris being a non-entity.

• There is absolutely no reason to play Furkan Korkmaz against Isaiah Joe if the former regularly misses the big three. The highs for Korkmaz have been huge this year and throughout his career, but he’s in the midst of an absolutely brutal crisis beyond the arc. November was bad enough for Korkmaz, and December was no nicer to him.

I understand that Doc Rivers likes the theoretical versatility that Korkmaz can bring, but if he doesn’t hit he can’t bring much on a regular basis to this team. At some point you have to give another guy a chance to make a good impression. If Joe had a leash as long as Korkmaz clearly has, expecting him to play at least as well as Korkmaz isn’t even really a request, and he could benefit from development time in a way. who will help Joe and the team get down the road. No headache for me, and Joe legitimately had a chance to prove himself in the second half against the Jazz.

• Oh yeah, I guess we should mention somewhere that the Jazz completely wiped the Sixers off the glass. It’s been a problem for Philadelphia all season, and it’s probably not going to go away. The Sixers start a small backcourt and have a defensive spin that takes Embiid away from the glass to try and save them on many plays. With Embiid dealing with contests and aid on defense, box-outs and effort elsewhere matter more, and the Sixers have been brutal for most of this year to end their possessions after being arrested.

The ugly one

• It’s unclear how or how injured Joel Embiid is at any given time, as he’s constantly grimacing and grabbing different body parts depending on possession (and let’s not start with his falls to the ground). But you could tell his ribs were bothering him in the second half against Utah, which led to a return to the locker room late in the third quarter, a worrying sign for this team.

Don’t go slamming the panic button just yet, as Embiid would eventually come back into the game, but it goes without saying that they’re a whole different team without the big guy. They must have played the Warriors once without him, and it wasn’t exactly a barn burner the day before Thanksgiving.

• On the one hand, I admire Tyrese Maxey’s persistence and willingness to get back into the game quickly after having a bad fall on a layup made. If he was experiencing any side effects after his head rolled over and hit the ground – and I’ll save you watching the video as well as his stunned gaze after the fall – he didn’t show it on the pitch, with l ‘child pursue him and score shortly after his return.

Still, you’re going to have a hard time telling me that Maxey cleared any sort of concussion protocol after missing just a few minutes of action to get back to the locker room. Potential head injuries need to be taken more seriously than just patting someone on the back and giving them an “Atta boy!” on the way home, and that’s true even though basketball is not a violent collision sport like football.

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