We can’t look to Rudy to protect the rim right now. We’ve got to do a better job of containing the rim and staying in front of people. —Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
PHILADELPHIA — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert could only watch from the sidelines at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night.
As the big man recovers from his right tibia contusion, he had to sit there in his maroon suit instead of his Jazz jersey and watch the team fall to the Philadelphia 76ers 107-86.
“It’s tough to watch my team play and not being able to help,” Gobert said in the locker room.
While Joel Embiid hasn’t matched up against the All-League defender much during his young career, rookie Ben Simmons certainly notices the difference with the Frenchman both in and out of the Jazz lineup.
“He’s a shot changer. He changes shots. He’s a great player,” said Sixers rookie Ben Simmons, who posted a career-high 27 points against Utah. “He can rebound the ball. Obviously, with him out it was a key for us to go inside."
The roles were reversed the last time when the Jazz hosted Philadelphia at the Vivint Arena. Embiid was held out on Nov. 7, due to “load management,” as the Sixers were monitoring his usage based on his history of foot and knee injuries.
Utah also lost that game at home, 104-97, for the first time since 2005.
“Obviously he’s a great rim protector,” Embiid said of Gobert. “Offensively, he sets screens and rolls. That’s definitely different but I don’t know.”
Embiid was listed as questionable ahead of Monday’s game against Utah with tightness in his left knee, but the big man suited up after feeling good in his pregame routine. Embiid drained a turnaround jumper on the opening possession over Derrick Favors and went on to post 15 points, 11 rebound and two blocks for the night.
Philadelphia shot 51.8 percent from the field while leading by as many as 21 points. The Jazz allowed 66 points in the paint and were also outrebounded 46-27 as the team’s defensive rating has dipped to 102.1 in Gobert’s absence, which ties for 18th in the league.
Gobert has missed the past six games after clashing with Dion Waiters against Miami on Nov. 10. He is expected to miss up to four weeks with the bone bruise.
“Rudy wasn’t out there tonight but they do that to everyone, whether Rudy’s back there or not,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “We can’t look to Rudy to protect the rim right now. We’ve got to do a better job of containing the rim and staying in front of people.”
HALL OF FAMER: Adding to his grocery list of achievements, Utah Jazz legend John Stockton entered the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday. Stockton played four seasons at Gonzaga and was the first from the school to be named West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He would go on to be drafted by the Jazz in 1984 where he enjoyed a 19-year career — including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. Stockton is also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame and is the league’s all-time leader in steals and assists. Former Wake Forest star Tim Duncan and Duke’s Jay Williams were also inducted. The ceremony was held The Midland in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
"Somebody has to give you a chance somewhere along the line," Stockton told The Associated Press. "Obviously I don't look the part, but someone found something they appreciated in me."
BLUE DEVILS: Rodney Hood and JJ Redick may share a common bond to legendary college coach Mike Krzyzewski as Duke products, but the opposing guards were in competition Monday night. Redick (2002-06) scored all 20 of his points in the second half while Hood (2013-14) chipped in 13 off the bench. Jazz coach Quin Snyder also played in three Final Fours at Duke during his college career, which spanned from 1985-89.
“We’ve got a lot of guys in the NBA, I’ve noticed that,” Redick said. “We were not allowed to be in a fraternity at Duke so we have our own little sort of perpetual fraternity of guys that have played there and by and large I have a relationship with almost everyone.”