Game Night: Jazz @ Sixers
Friday, November 16, 7:00 PM at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: Comcast SportsNet HD is now on XFinity® Channel 847
by Warren Croxton
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
G-F Gordon Hayward vs. G-F Evan Turner
The ninth-overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Gordon Hayward saw steady improvement in points, rebounds, and assists from his rookie season to his sophomore year. The Butler product showed off his versatility both as a perimeter scorer and slasher last season, taking 55.0% of his shots from 16 feet or father, with 30.0% of his shots coming around the rim. The 6-8 swingman has started all nine of Utah’s games so far this season, seeing his minutes and scoring numbers increase.
Taken second-overall in the same draft as Hayward, Evan Turner has begun to find a consistent role with the Sixers. With the departure of All-Star wing defender Andre Iguodala, Turner has been given the assignment of manning some of the more physical wing players his team has faced this season. Focusing upon defense, rebounding, playmaking, and getting to the free-throw line, the 6-7 swingman looks more polished in this, his third, season as a pro. Turner ranks first among all NBA guards and guard-forwards in rebounds per game (8.0) and also is averaging 10.6 points and 3.4 assists per game, all of which are career highs.
During last year's playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs were able to hold Hayward to just six made baskets on 33 attempts in four games of a first-round sweep of the Jazz. Of those 33 attempts, just six came in the paint (where he shot 56.9% during the regular season) and only two were corner threes, on which he converted 37.0% in 2011-12. By forcing him to attempt roughly half of his shots from midrange, where he shoots just 39.0%, the Spurs were able to make him a non-factor in that series. If the Sixers can keep Hayward out of the paint and away from the corners in transition, they'll have an easier time containing the impressive, young swingman.
What'd They Do Last Season?
The Utah Jazz went 36-30 last season, earning the eighth seed in the Western Conference, before being swept by the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Jazz featured one of the league's higher-scoring offenses, finishing fourth in the league in points per game (99.7), but struggled defensively, where they finished 23rd in points allowed (99.0).
Where Are They Now?
This season, Utah has followed a similar path, ranking sixth in points scored per game (99.9), but 24th in points allowed (99.7). The 4-5 Jazz, led by head coach Tyrone Corbin, began an Eastern Conference road trip with a 140-133 win over the Toronto Raptors in triple overtime Monday, but followed that up with a 93-98 loss to the Celtics in Boston Wednesday night. After beginning the year 1-3, the Jazz have won three out of their last five games.
Utah is one of only three teams (CHA and LAC being the other two) to have at least six members average 10.0 points per game, or more. All five of their starters, as well as guard Randy Foye, a former Villanova Wildcat, help the Jazz achieve this. Point guard Mo Williams, acquired in a four-team trade during the offseason, leads the team in scoring (16.5) and assists (7.1) per game. Center Al Jefferson, who led the team in points and rebounds per game last season, is currently third in points per game this year (15.0) behind Williams and forward Paul Millsap (16.1), but still leads the team in rebounds (11.8).
The Jazz are currently ranked third in the league in blocks (8.0) and fifth in total rebounds per game (45.2), primarily due to their impressive starting frontcourt duo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Jefferson, acquired via trade from Minnesota in 2010, is currently averaging 15.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. In his career, the veteran Jefferson has averaged 9.0 rebounds per contest and ranks in the top 100 in league history in rebounds per game. Paul Millsap has seen his rebounding numbers improve every season since 2009-2010. Currently, the Louisiana Tech alum is averaging career highs in rebounds (9.7) and blocks (1.6) per game.
Last Time They Met
3/9/2012 - Sixers 104, Jazz 91
Shooting 52.6% from the floor, Philadelphia had five players score in double figures, as they defeated the Utah Jazz 104-91. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young led the team in scoring, with 21 points apiece, while Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday each scored 16. Andre Iguodala was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor, scoring 10 points. Turner, with his 12 rebounds and Iguodala, with his 10 assists, each posted a double-double in the victory.