As the 4-5 Utah Jazz travel to play the 4-4 Philadephia 76ers, there are a few things fans should keep an out for.
Saying the Philadelphia 76ers are struggling would be an understatement.
The 76ers have a 4-4 record but their play as of late has been much worse than that in their last two games. First, Philadelphia lost at home to the Milwaukee bucks 105-96, then they lost at home to the horrible Detroit Pistons by the score of 94-76. The Sixers shot an anemic 29.8 percent from the floor and had only two players score 10-plus points.
The loss to the Pistons was the second straight loss for the Sixers and third in a row at home, where they boast a record of just 1-3. In that loss, Philadelphia scored just 28 points in the paint and got dominated on the glass 58-37.
A good portion of Philadelphia's problem is that Andrew Bynum is hurt. Bynum has yet to set foot on the court this season due to a knee injury, and the Sixers are paying for it. As a team, the Sixers rank near the bottom of the NBA, scoring just 33.5 points in the paint per game.
Big men for the Jazz might be licking their chops going into Philadelphia. The Jazz average 43.1 points in the paint per game and as a team outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, Wednesday night.
A big problem for the Sixers has been starting the game well.
"We have to impose our will on the game early, pretty much from the Jump," Sixers forward Thaddeus Young, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We have to go out there, be active and show a lot of aggressiveness."
The Sixers have struggled to be active and agressive in their last two home losses. In those games, the Bucks and Pistons outrebounded the Sixers by a total of 36 and have been outscored in the paints by a staggering 84-52. That's something the Jazz will want to take advantage of.
The last time these two teams faced off, Young scored 21 points. But so far this year, Young hasn't scored more than 16 points in a game.
For the Jazz to get their second win on the road, crashing the boards and being physical in the paint could be huge factors.
Jazz PPG: 99.89
Jazz opponents PPG: 99.67
76ers PPG: 88.00
76ers opponents PPG: 91.13
PPG=Points Per Game
Only Indiana scores fewer points per game than the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers also have the ninth worst points per game differential in the league. Not exactly a winning formula.
The Jazz have the sixth highest scoring offense in the league. This could be a recipe for success for the Jazz, as they hope to get their second win on the road.
Jazz FG%: 44.1
Jazz opponents FG%: 43.6
76ers FG%: 40.1
76ers opponents FG%: 44.2
FG%=Field Goal Percentage
Once again, the 76ers rank second to last in the NBA in an offensive category. They struggle to make shots. The Jazz are in the middle of the league, with a shooting percentage that's ranked No. 13 in the NBA.
As bad as Philadelphia's shooting is, its defense doesn't make up for it. Only 10 teams in the NBA all opposing teams to shoot a higher percentage from the field. Most of those teams don't celebrate winning after each game.
Jazz 3PT%: 35.2
Jazz opponents 3PT%: 35.3
76ers 3PT%: 35.9
76ers opponents 3PT%: 36.5
3PT%=3 Point Percentage
Neither team shoots especially well from beyond the arc. But Randy Foye could be key if the Jazz want to win. Foye drilled two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to keep the Jazz in the game against the Celtics and made four against the Raptors. Foye is shooting 44 percent from deep for the season.
Jazz FT%: 74.6
Jazz opponents FT%: 75.3
76ers FT%: 76.6
76ers opponents FT%: 73.1
FT%=Free Throw Percentage
The 76ers have a slight edge over the Jazz in this area. If the game is close, Philadelphia's shooting from the stripe could prove valuable.
Jazz RPG: 45.22
Jazz opponents RPG: 43.22
76ers RPG: 42.25
76ers opponents RPG: 44.38
RPG=Rebounds Per Game
Philadelphia isn't terrible on the glass, but the Jazz are pretty good. Pounding the glass could be big for the Jazz.
On average, Utah gets more boards than opposing teams, and Philadelphia does the opposite. Look for Utah's big men to get a lot of rebounds and offensive put backs.
Jazz TO: 15.56
Jazz opponents TO: 14
76ers TO: 14
76ers opponents TO: 17
It's hard for a team to consistently win when they give the opponent more chances to score on turnovers. If the Jazz can force more Philadelphia turnovers and cut down on their own, their chances for victory will increase.
But that's easier said than done, as the Celtics had less four fewer than the Jazz. Boston had just nine turnovers agains the Jazz.
Jazz APG: 21.11
Jazz opponents APG: 22.22
76ers APG: 19.38
76ers opponents APG: 22.75
APG=Assists Per Game
Some of Philadelphia's offensive struggles deal with sharing the ball. Philadelphia is the fifth worst team in the league in assists per game. The 76ers also allow more assists than almost any team in the league.
Jazz SPG: 7.67
Jazz opponents SPG: 9.56
76ers SPG: 9
76ers opponents SPG: 7.5
SPG=Steals Per Game
The 76ers hold a pretty good edge on the Jazz when it comes to stealing the ball, and that can lead to easy points for the opponent. In steals per game, the Jazz rank No. 16, compared to No. 10 for the 76ers. Only the Lakers, Pistons and Pacers have a worse steal differential than the Jazz. Not exactly good company to be in.
Jazz BPG: 8
Jazz opponents BPG: 5.89
76ers BPG: 4.88
76ers opponents BPG: 5.63
BPG=Blocks Per Game
Only the Bobcats and Thunder get more blocks than the Jazz do, and when it comes to getting more blocks than the opposing team, the Jazz are fourth in the NBA. The 76ers aren't quite as fortunate.
Part of that could be due to the fact that Andrew Bynum is out, and will be for another four to five weeks, but teams just don't fear getting blocked by the 76ers.
When Jazz score 100: 2-1
When opponent scores 100: 1-3
When 76ers score 100: 1-0
When opponents score 100: 1-3
The Jazz will have a much better chance at winning if they hold the can hold the 76ers under 100. Both teams usually experience disaster when their opponents hit the century mark.
Utah's only when an opponent has scored 100-plus points, came against the Raptors in triple overtime.
Jazz: Mo Williams-16.5 PPG
76ers: Jrue Holiday-18.3 PPG
Williams leads the Jazz in multiple categories, including scoring. But the same is true of Holliday. These two players could ending having a shootout when they matchup in Philadelphia.
Jazz: Mo Williams-7.1 APG
76ers: Jrue Holiday-8.8 APG
Williams ranks No. 11 and Holliday ties for third in the league in assists per game. But Holliday throws the ball away about fives times a game while Williams commits just over three turnovers per contest.
Jazz: Derrick Favors-2.22 BPG
76ers: Spencer Hawes-1.13
Derrick Favors has been a force on the defensive end of the floor, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses getting more than two blocks a night. Favors had five blocks against the Nuggets and at least three in multiple games this season.
Jazz: Al Jefferson-11.8 RPG
76ers: Evan Turner-8 RPG
The Jazz have some good rebounders: Millsap pulls down almost 10 per game and Favors grabs more than seven per game off the bench. But Jefferson takes the cake when it comes to rebounding for the Jazz.
Jazz: Paul Millsap-61.7 percent
76ers: Spencer Hawes-42.9 percent
Realistically, Paul Millsap probably won't over 60 percent from beyond the arc for the whole season, but so far he's been stellar. Draining 3-pointers in clutch moments against the Raptors and Hornets.
If the game is on the line, be prepared for Millsap to step behind the line and launch a 3-pointer.
Jazz: Mo Williams-94.7 percent
76ers: Dorell Wright-87 percent
Williams is lights out at the free throw line. Last season, Williams shot 90 percent from the line. If the game comes down to the wire, and it comes down to free throws, each team will probably try to get the ball in Williams or Dorell Wright's hands.