Joel Embiid and the 76ers welcome in the Utah Jazz in a matchup of conference leaders on Wednesday night. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)
- The Philadelphia 76ers battle the Utah Jazz in a showdown between the league’s two conference leaders
- The Sixers are 23-11 and atop the Eastern Conference. Utah is 27-8 and leading the Western Conference
- The Jazz have lost three straight games at Philadelphia – see who we like below
In recent years, the matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz could best be summed up as the iliad and odyssey. It’s truly been a homer series.
As the NBA gets set to take its all-star break, the league first gets to showcase its two best teams going head-to-head. The 23-11 Sixers lead the Eastern Conference. At 27-8, the Jazz own the NBA’s best record and are the frontrunners in the Western Conference.
It’s been awhile, though, since the Jazz played a winning tune in Philly. The 76ers have won the last three games between the two teams in Philadelphia. Utah hasn’t won in the City of Brotherly Love since 2016.
Nonetheless, the Sixers are listed as the 2.5-point underdogs on their home court. Philly has covered the spread in nine of its last 12 home games.
Jazz vs 76ers March 3rd NBA Odds
|Utah Jazz||-138||-2.5 (-110)||OFF|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+118||+2.5 (-110)||OFF|
Odds taken Mar. 2nd at FanDuel.
Tipoff for Wednesday’s game is 7pm EST at the Wells Fargo Center. The game is being broadcast regionally by NBC Sports Philadelphia and AT&T Sportsnet – Rocky Mountain.
Sixers Healthier for Rematch
The two teams met Feb. 15th in Utah and the Jazz dumped a short-staffed Philly squad 134-123. The 76ers were without center Joel Embiid and sixth man Shake Milton for that game.
Ben Simmons scored a career-high 42 points for Philadelphia and Tobias Harris added 36. Philadelphia hopes to have Harris back in the lineup Wednesday. He’s missed the past two games due to a right knee bruise.
Jordan Clarkson came off the bench to pace the Jazz with 40 points. Utah won its second straight home game over the Sixers.
Embiid vs Gobert
The marquee matchup that could dictate the outcome of Wednesday’s game is the battle between centers Embiid and Rudy Gobert of the Jazz. Embiid is second in the NBA in scoring average (29.8 points per game) and eighth in rebounds (11.3). He’s recorded 20 double-doubles in 29 games this season.
Two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gobert is second in the NBA in blocked shots (2.8 per game), third in rebounds (13.2), and third in field-goal percentage (64.9%).
Joel Embiid says he’s dominated his matchups with Myles Turner. pic.twitter.com/jgoKdYZ6AE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 2, 2021
Over the past two seasons, Embiid has hit 19-of-48 from the field (39.5%) when he and Gobert are on the floor. He’s drained 12-of-35 (34.3%) when Gobert is his closest defender.
In Philly’s last game, Embiid dominated NBA DPOY contender Myles Turner in a 130-114 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Embiid finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. He’s averaging 28.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in 10 career games against Turner.
Jazz Out of Rhythm
The Jazz are 1-2 on their current four-game road trip, with losses to the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans. Utah has lost three of six following a stretch in which the team won 20 of 21. The run included winning streaks of nine and 11 games.
The Sixers with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the floor this season (715 mins):
121.1 offensive rating
106.3 defensive rating
+14.8 net rating
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) March 2, 2021
The Jazz conceded 74 points in the paint in Monday’s 129-124 loss to the Pelicans. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that’s the most a team has scored in the paint in regulation against the Jazz in the past 25 seasons. The Jazz, the NBA’s #2 defensive team, also allowed the Pelicans to shoot 56.5% from the field.
Philadelphia has also come down to earth lately. The Sixers are 5-5 over their past 10 games.
Neither team is much of an over play. Philadelphia is 19-16 against the total, while the Jazz are a break-even 17-17-1.
Pick: Philadelphia +2.5 (-110).
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.