Five Lesson Learned Philadelphia 76ers Versus Utah Jazz

Hot on the heels of a one point loss to the defending NBA champ Cleveland Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers sought their first win against the visiting Utah Jazz. The Jazz had other ideas, sending the Philadelphia 76ers to its sixth lost of the season.

The Philadelphia 76ers were optimistic heading into the Monday Night, November 7th contest at the Wells Fargo Center, where the Philadelphia 76ers would face the Utah Jazz. This is the opening game of a very busy week for the 76ers, who face the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night, repeat with the Pacers on Friday night, and finish off the week Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks. But if the team was expecting a reprieve against the Jazz, they were sorely disappointed.

Lesson One Learned: Robert Covington‘s Offense Is Not Dead Yet

Robert Covington’s offense has been dismal lately. In spite of additional shooting work, the shots refused to drop for the small forward. Until tonight, that is…

RoCo showed up with a three point score to open the game and continued to pump in his shots. He ended up the night with 12 points, but he was four of five from the floor, including three of four from three point range.

It was nice to see his shots going in. However, the emphasis on scoring seemed to derail his normally stalwart defense.

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Lesson Two Learned: Joel Embiid Is Human

Perhaps it was the shock of Robert Covington coming to life offensively, but the rookie phenom simply had an off game tonight.  He was average on offense, scoring 14 points and pulling down 9 rebounds.  Joel Embiid even had a block and a steal.

But this was not a night for “The Process”. Joel Embiid turned the ball over five times, as well as committed five personal fouls.  Even his free throws did not fall on par, as he shot just six out of nine from the foul line

Lesson Three Learned: Philadelphia 76ers Ersan Ilyasova had a poor performance

Ersan Ilyasova was due to come back to earth, with tonight’s performance removing all guesswork from the recipient of Covington’s slump. Ilyasova shot often, and poorly, sinking just two of twelve shots, including one of five from beyond the arc.

He did pass off two assists, and pull in three rebounds.  He even shot a perfect five of five from the foul line.  But the reason Ilyasova is in the lineup is to stretch the floor and score. He struggled with that tonight.

Lesson Four Learned: Turnovers are Deadly to this team.

There are times in an NBA season where the game is closer than the score. This was not one of those occasions. The game was never close.  In fact, the Utah Jazz outscored the Philadelphia 76ers in each of the four quarters.

So many fans are laying these performances at the feet of head coach Brett Brown. But the fault lies in the front office.  The team has placed a very young and only partially healthy roster into the trenches and somehow expects him to fix everything on the fly, not even knowing when he will have a full roster at his disposal.

Combined with 11 blocks by the Jazz, the 76ers never got their offense on track.

Lesson Five: The Philadelphia 76ers bench is overmatched due to so many injuries.

I won’t lie. When the 76ers begin to rotate in bench players, I no longer look at the score. I know it will go horribly against the 76ers. The Utah Jazz are able to play five starters a signifcant portion of minutes, keeping just nine players over 15 minutes in the contest. Meanwhile, the 76ers, even with three players unable to suit up (Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless) are forced to play all healthy players.

With Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid on minutes restrictions, Brown has to force rotations that hurt continuity on the basketball court, just to preserve his players for the next game.

In each contest so far this year, Brown has suited up just 12 players to the opponents 13.  You can see the hesitancy to play Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Richaun Holmes tonight. TLC played just 4 minutes in the contest to just 5 for Holmes.

For the one bright spot, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored his first NBA points in the contest. Overall, the Philadelphia 76ers are a very young team and they showed their youth tonight.

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