What to watch for: Utah Jazz vs Philadelphia 76ers

The Utah Jazz will take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday Night in Salt Lake City
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Rudy Gobert (27) guards Joel Embiid (21) during a game between the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers

Rudy Gobert (27) guards Joel Embiid (21) during a game between the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers

In a night where defense came up big, and the ball movement on offense was mesmerizing, the Utah Jazz won their seventh game in a row, topping the Miami Heat 112-94. Next up is the battle of the two top teams in each conference. The Utah Jazz representing the West, and the Philadelphia 76ers in the East.

Jazz vs 76ers Throwback:

The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers just passed the century mark last season for all-time games played against each other. In 101 matchups, Utah holds the advantage of 55-wins, to Philadelphia's 46.

It has been over a year since these two teams have met, with the last game ending in a 76ers win on December 2, 2019. That wasn't the only time the Jazz and 76ers met during the 2019-2020 season though. The first game finished with a Jazz win 104-106. Donovan Mitchell's 24-points led the Jazz to a victory during the game in early November, while Rudy Gobert's 27-points led the way for the Jazz in game two against the 76ers.

Key Players:

This is a big 'If' due to the injury report listed below, but if Joel Embiid is deemed healthy enough to play, Monday night should once again be a showcase of the battle of the bigs. 

Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert and MVP candidate Joel Embiid could be facing off at Vivint Smart Home Arena later this evening.

Gobert leads the Jazz in rebounds with 13.4 per game, field goal percentage with 63.4%, and blocks with 2.8 per game. 

Rudy Gobert (27) blocks a shot by Joel Embiid (21)

Rudy Gobert (27) blocks a shot by Joel Embiid (21)

Embiid leads the 76ers in points per game with 29.6, rebounds per game with 10.8, and blocks per game with 1.2. 

This matchup is intriguing because of the strengths that both centers bring to the table. Gobert's defensive prowess creates tough shots inside for opponents, while Embiid's offense is one of the main reasons why he's in the running for MVP. Watch for Gobert's defense against Embiid to be a determining factor of tonight's game if Embiid plays.

If Embiid isn't able to go, then Joe Ingles going up against Ben Simmons could be a matchup to watch out for during Monday nights game.

Joe Ingles (2) drives into the paint against the Philadelphia 76ers

Joe Ingles (2) drives into the paint against the Philadelphia 76ers

Ingles has been on fire throughout Utah's last few games, passing John Stockton as the Jazz all-time leader in three pointers, and tying Pete Maravich on the Jazz all-time assists list. During the last five games, Ingles has averaged 6.2-assists and 15.2-points per game. His impact with Mike Conley out has been great, reaching a 13.8 +/- over the last five games.

Through the last five games, Simmons has averaged 17.2-points, 7.8-assists, and his average +/- is 8.2. 

Game Notes:

The Jazz will once again wear their City Uniforms against the 76ers on Monday night. This will be the seventh time Utah has worn these jerseys this year, and so far they have been good luck. The Jazz are 4-2 with these uniforms on with the last victory coming over the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Mike Conley is officially listed as 'out' with a tight right hamstring. Joel Embiid is also listed as 'questionable' with back tightness. 

Utah's 22-5 record still tops the NBA with no signs of slowing down. They've gone 18-1 in their last 19 games and seem to be breaking franchise records each night. They currently hold a half-game lead over the Lakers, and a three game lead over the Clippers in the west. They also hold a four game lead over the 76ers in the east. 

The Philadelphia 76ers have gone 2-3 during their last five games, but continue to hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference with an 18-9 record overall. Their last two games have ended in losses against the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns.

Ben Simmons is once again making claims about postseason awards that might make Jazz fans roll their eyes. After a loss to Portland, Simmons said, "I take pride in guarding the best player on the floor every night. It's not a one-off thing. If you watch me, I'm typically guarding the best player. I love the fact that my teammates can look at me and tell me, 'You got to go out and lock this guy up,' There are nights that guys go off, and that's gonna happen, but most of the time, I feel like I'm doing a good job and making the right plays. You know, I feel like I'm the best defender in the NBA." We'll see what the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and current favorite for the award, Rudy Gobert, has to say about that later tonight.

NBA All-Star Voting ends on Tuesday. Donovan Mitchell is still the only Utah Jazz player that fans have voted for to take part in the NBA All-Star Game. You can vote for your favorite Jazz players by filling out a ballot on NBA.com, or by using Twitter. Tuesday will also be the last 2-for-1 day where your one ballot or one tweet will count as two votes for these Jazzmen.

How to Consume:

Monday at 7PM will set the stage for a showdown between these two conference leaders. The Jazz and 76ers will be televised on AT&T Sportsnet as well as NBA League Pass. Jazz listeners can also tune into David Locke and Ron Boone’s radio broadcast on 1280 The Zone or 97.5 FM.

Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to shoot over Ben Simmons (25) and Joel Embiid (21)

Donovan Mitchell (45) looks to shoot over Ben Simmons (25) and Joel Embiid (21)

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