Here are some takeaways and best and worst awards from the 76ers' 114-97 road win over the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
- The Sixers have more room to let their offense shine when their defense is working overtime. On Thursday in Salt Lake City, the Sixers let their defense dictate their offense and not the other way around. At times this season, streaky offensive production has transitioned into lapses in defensive effort on the Sixers' part, but against the Jazz the Sixers let their defensive do the talking, reaping the benefits on the other end.
- Things are a lot easier for the Sixers when they are getting production from their bench. T.J. McConnell led the reserve unit with 10 points; Mike Muscala had eight points; Landry Shamet finished with seven points; and Furkan Korkmaz and Jonah Bolden each added four apiece to the final score. As Brett Brown said after the game, it’s nice to have offensive production, but the bench also stayed focused on defense, not letting the Jazz get back into the game, no matter who was on the court.
- Even when Joel Embiid fouls out of the game it doesn’t take away from the fact that he is a force to be reckoned with. He continues to make a case for himself to be in both the MVP conversation and the DPOY running.
- It doesn’t matter that JJ Redick is 34 and playing in his 13th NBA season, and it doesn’t matter that scouting reports for years have his tendencies highlighted. He still runs around screens at lightning speed and can make a three-point shot no matter how unbalanced or how little room there is to get the shot off. It’s a luxury for the Sixers to have a player like Redick at their disposal, one that will eventually be gone.
Best performance: Joel Embiid got the better of his matchup with reigning DPOY Rudy Gobert, scored 23 points, had 15 rebounds, dished out six assists, and blocked five shots.
Worst performance: There were worse players statistically speaking, but Derrick Favors was rendered ineffective as a direct result of Embiid and the Sixers defense. He couldn’t handle guarding Embiid and fell for every one of his traps, racking up four fouls. Despite starting the game and averaging 10 points in 23 minutes per game this season, Favors had four points in just under 19 minutes against the Sixers.
Best defensive performance: There are a lot of reasons to give this to Embiid but the Sixers entire rotation deserves the credit. The whole team contributed and helped each other at the right times on the defensive end. Embiid was able to thrive because even when switches put bigger guys on the Sixers' smaller players, they held heir own for the most part.
Worst statistic: Ricky Rubio is not a high scoring guard or a volume scorer, but still, going 1-of-10 from the field in 30 minutes is a very bad night by anyone’s standards.