Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sixers could be facing a dangerous opponent in Jazz tonight

The Utah Jazz have gotten blown out three of their last four games and haven't played an ounce of defense over the past 10 games. That might be a bad thing for the Sixers tonight when they meet at Energy Solutions Arena.

Sixers could be facing a dangerous opponent in Jazz tonight

The Sixers followed up a win over the Celtics with a 102-74 loss. (Jim Prisching/AP Photo)
The Sixers followed up a win over the Celtics with a 102-74 loss. (Jim Prisching/AP Photo)

The Utah Jazz seem to be in a free fall. They've lost three of their last four, and in those three losses they've gotten behind by 30 or more points. They are just 3-10 since longtime coach Jerry Sloan resigned and now are looking for a go-to player since Deron Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Derrick Favors and Devin Harris.

Utah has allowed an average of 112.3 points over the last 10 games and has allowed its opponenets to shoot 50.9 percent from the floor during that time.

Those all seem to be good reasons to think the Sixers should be able to win this game tonight, but it might not be that easy. The Jazz is two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and look at tonight as a must win if they are to stay in the hunt.

The Sixers are coming off one of their worst games of the season Saturday night, a 102-74 smackdown at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. They haven't lost two games in a row since the middle of January.

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Here are some keys for the Sixers tonight:

*Get Thaddeus Young going. Young admitted at this morning's shootaround that he was feeling a bit tired after playing so many minutes recently. A day off has refreshed him, and the Sixers will need his spark when called upon.

*Keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Sixers have done a great job of protecting the ball during thier successful run that has included a 31-19 record since that 3-13 start. When they don't, like the 36 combined turnovers in their last two losses combined, bad things happen.

*Somewhat contain Al Jefferson. Since the All-Star break, Jefferson is the third-highest scorer in the NBA at 26.6 points a game. The Jazz are struggling with injuries and getting scattered scoring behind Jefferson. If they can limit him, the should be able to limit the Jazz.


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About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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