The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a massive clash between the high-flying Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers.
13:00 (AEDT), Tue 16th Feb @ Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
History: Played 101: Jazz 55 V 76ers 46
Last meeting: December 2, 2019: 76ers 103 d Jazz 94 at Wells Fargo Center
Final Thoughts: It’s one of the biggest cross-conference blockbusters of the season to date as the West leaders host the top team in the East.
The 22-5 Jazz have won 18 of their last 19, including seven straight since the start of February.
Utah haven’t just been winning – they’ve been dominating. Their last 13 wins were all by eight points or more, including 10 by 14-plus. After overwhelming heavyweights Milwaukee 129-115, they put away the Heat 112-94 the following day.
Donovan Mitchell is in a rich vein of form, averaging 29 points and 7 assists in his last five games. Rudy Gobert is pulling down 13.4 boards per night. With Mike Conley Jr sidelined, Aussie veteran Joe Ingles underlined his value by hitting seven three-pointers against the Bucks.
The 18-9 Sixers, meanwhile, are coming off back-to-back losses to the Trail Blazers (118-114) and Suns (120-111).
Joel Embiid put up 35 points in both defeats and Ben Simmons stepped up his offensive production. But the week was a step back for Philadelphia, with a second loss for February to the injury-hit Blazers particularly disappointing.
Worryingly, MVP favourite Embiid is listed as questionable.
Jazz aim to turn around poor rivalry record
The Jazz have won only one of their last six against the Sixers. Their sole victory in the past three seasons was a 106-104 success at home last year with Donovan Mitchell (24 pts, 8 reb) and Rudy Gobert (14 pts, 16 reb) starring. Joel Embiid (27 pts, 16 reb) was a standout for the beaten 76ers with Ben Simmons lasting only 10 minutes.
Utah are 12-2 at home this season and boast an NBA-best (by quite a margin) 20-7 record against the line. Philadelphia are 7-7 on the road and 14-12-2 ATS.
It’s a biggish line to take on given the quality of their opponents. But the Jazz are in the groove and covering starts for fun at the moment. Expect the hosts to bank another comfortable win – especially if Embiid is short of 100 percent or out altogether.
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