Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz Ring 76ers’ Bell in Philadelphia

Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz improved to 2-0 on their Eastern Conference swing with a blowout win over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

VS.

1 2 3 4 T
76ers 24 19 18 23 84
Jazz 30 22 25 32 109

Over the course of an 82-game schedule in the NBA, there are always going to be times when the better team doesn’t win. And despite the obvious talent discrepancy between the teams, when the Utah Jazz took the court for Monday’s early game against the Philadelphia 76ers, many of the ingredients for a letdown were in play.

In the past, the Jazz have shown a tendency to play down to the level of their competition and the winless Sixers are a team that plays hard. Moreover, the Jazz were facing the wrong end of a back-to-back set after beating the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jazzman George Hill, fresh off his Western Conference Player of the Week selection, sat out with a sprained finger.

While Hill has largely been the thing that makes the Jazz machine go in the absence of Gordon Hayward, the team didn’t miss a beat without their starting point guard. Despite a recipe for disaster, the Jazz band did what everyone is expecting them to do this season with a more experienced roster.

They went out and took care of business against an inferior team. In the end, Quin Snyder’s crew wore out Joel Embiid and the Sixers, capturing a 109-84 win.

Much as they did against New York, the Jazz came out firing in the first quarter to build an early lead. However, Embiid and the Sixers just couldn’t muster the same kind of late run we saw out of the Knicks. Utah won all four quarters and were never seriously challenged in the game despite looking sluggish in stretches.

The Jazz were very strong defensively, getting their hands on the basketball and making it uncomfortable for Philly all night. They blocked a season-high 11 shots and nabbed 10 steals in the game. They were equally strong offensively, burning the nets from three-point range to the tune of 57 percent on 11-of-19 shooting.

In just his second game back from injury, Hayward led the way for the Jazz once again, scoring 20 points, grabbing seven boards and dishing out five assists. Rodney Hood, meanwhile, scored 18 of his own and hit four threes. Derrick Favors added a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double.

Despite a lot of hype about the big man match-up between Embiid and Rudy Gobert, foul trouble and the lopsided nature of the game prevented it from really going down. The Sixers star rookie finished with 14 points, nine boards and five fouls in just 19 minutes of play. Gobert fouled out after 20 minutes on the floor and finished with eight points, six rebounds and three blocks.

With the win, the Jazz improved to 5-3 overall on the season and 2-0 on the current road trip. They’ll be in Charlotte for another early tip against Kemba Walker and the Hornets on Wednesday.

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