76ers vs. Utah Jazz at a Glance

TEAMS:  Sixers (7-23) vs. Jazz (19-13)

WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday

WHERE:  Vivint Smart Home Arena

BROADCASTS: TV – CSN RADIO – 97.5 FM

SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE:  TWITTER – @PompeyOnSixers, INSTAGRAM – PompeyOnSixers

411 ON JAZZ:  Utah is back to winning games. It snapped a three-game skid with Tuesday’s 102-100 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Gordon Hayward showed why he’s a Salt Lake City fan favorite during that game, finishing with 31 points.  That marked the fourth time this season the small forward scored 30-plus points.

His and Jazz’s success appear to go hand-in-hand. The team is 14-5 when games where he scored 20 or more points.
The Sixers also have to be concerned about Rudy Gobert.
A standout center, Gobert joins former Jazz standout Karl Malone, John Stockton and Carlos Boozer as the only players in Utah history to record at least 22 double-doubles in the first 32 games of a season. Gobert is also the first Jazz to average a double-double through 32 games since Al Jefferson did in the 2012-13 season.
He also leads the NBA in field-goal percentage (69.7) and is second in blocked shots (2.59 per game).

PROBABLE STARTERS

 SIXERS (7-23)

33 Robert Covington SF 6-9  10.0 ppg. 1.6 spg.
7 Ersan Ilyasova PF 6-10 13.5 ppg. 6.1 rpg.
8 Jahlil Okafor C 6-11 10.9 ppg. 4.9 rpg.
12 Gerald Henderson SG 6-5  9.4 ppg. 2.6 rpg.
14 Sergio Rodriguez PG 6-3 9.6 ppg. 6.3 apg.

Coach: Brett Brown (Fourth season, 54-222)

Injury report: Ben Simmons (right foot fracture, out), Jerryd Bayless, (left wrist ligament tear, out), Richaun Holmes (concussion, out), Joel Embiid (right foot rest, out), Gerald Henderson (left hip pain, out).

JAZZ (19-13)

20 Gordon Hayward SF 6-8 22.4 ppg. 6.2 rpg. 
15 Derrick Favors PF 6-10 8.8 ppg 5.6 rpg.
27 Rudy Gobert C 7-1 12.4 ppg. 11.9 rpg.                                                                                   
5 Rodney Hood SG 6-5  14.2 ppg. 3.7 rpg.
3 George Hill  PG 6-3  20.0  ppg. 4.2 apg.

Coach: Quin Snyder (third season, 97-99)

Injury report:  Alec Burks (left ankle rehabilitation, TBD),  Dante Exum (left knee tendinitis, TBD), George Hill (sprained left big toe, TBD)

THE SERIES

The Jazz own a 53-41 series advantage and have won the last eight meetings. Utah has also won 11 straight against the Sixers at home.

LAST SERIES MEETING:   For the first time this season, Embiid actually looked like a rookie when these two teams met on Nov. 7. 

The 76ers center had a tough time making baskets and struggled to hold onto the ball against double teams early on. Without his normal energy, he was lackluster. All that led to a 109-84 setback at Wells Fargo Center.

In the 7-foot-1, 250-pound Gobert, Embiid faced one the league's few players close to his 7-2, 276-pound size. In Gobert, Embiid also faced one of the NBA's best post defenders - if not the best. And Embiid looked like what he is - someone who hadn't played basketball the last two seasons following two right foot surgeries - while finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds, one steal, one block, five turnovers and five fouls in 19 minutes, 12 seconds. Eight of his points came in the second half after the game was all but decided.
Embiid shot 4 for 8 from the field and made 6 of 9 foul shots. Embiid, however, didn't attempt a single three-pointer. The Jazz kept closing out on him whenever he was open beyond the three-point line. As a result, he was forced to put the ball on the floor and drive inside.
However, he shot just 1 for 5 in the first half. Two of those shots were blocked. Embiid's second basket came on his lone third-quarter shot as Gobert was on the bench with four fouls. Embiid then scored on his two shots in the fourth quarter before leaving the game with five fouls with 9:03 left. He did not return, and the Sixers' already slim chance of coming back disappeared.

 UPCOMING GAMES

Friday: 9 p.m., at Pepsi Center, Sixers vs. Denver Nuggets

Tuesday: 7 p.m., at Wells Fargo Center, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Sixers

Jan. 6: 7:30 p.m., at T.D. Garden, Sixers vs. Boston Celtics

Jan. 8: 12 p.m., at Barclays Center, Sixers vs. Brooklyn Nets

Jan. 11: 7 p.m., at Wells Fargo Center, Sixers vs. New York Knicks

Follow and contact 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers.