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News » Jazz-76ers Preview 2009-11-12

Jazz-76ers Preview 2009-11-12

Jazz-76ers Preview 2009-11-12Second-year forward Marreese Speights is giving the Philadelphia 76ers outstanding energy off the bench. The Utah Jazz, meanwhile, desperately need some of that same vigor from a couple of their veterans.

Speights and the 76ers look to build some momentum after a tough stretch as they face the struggling Jazz on Friday night.

Philadelphia (4-4) beat winless New Jersey 82-79 on Wednesday night after losing two straight and three of four.

Speights helped the 76ers overcome their second poor effort versus the Nets this season, converting a go-ahead three-point play with 1:10 to play. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.

The 6-foot-10 forward, in his second season after being drafted 16th overall in 2008, is averaging 15.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.

"He has great swag, great confidence right now," Philadelphia coach Eddie Jordan said. "He's a terrific shooter ... His confidence is soaring."

Speights is getting most of the late-game minutes at the expense of veteran Elton Brand, who hasn't played in the fourth quarter of four of his last five contests. The two-time All-Star has started all eight of the Sixers' games, but his 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest are significantly below his career averages of 19.9 and 10.1, respectively.

Brand is averaging 20.1 points in 27 games versus the Jazz (3-5). He'll be matched up with Carlos Boozer, who was criticized by Utah coach Jerry Sloan for his lack of toughness in the paint in a 105-86 loss to Boston on Wednesday night.

Boozer and fellow big man Mehmet Okur combined for five rebounds.

"Well I wouldn't mind them rebounding. There aren't any rules against them rebounding," Sloan said. "I mean, if you're just going to stay out there and shoot shots ... and not defend and not rebound, it's pretty tough."

Boozer had two rebounds after grabbing 45 in his previous three games. Okur was coming off a 12-rebound effort in a 95-93 win over New York on Monday night.

After winning at Madison Square Garden for the first time in more than five years, the Jazz never led against the Celtics and fell to 1-1 on their four-game road trip that concludes Saturday at Cleveland.

"Right now, we're soft," Utah point guard Deron Williams said. "There's no way around it. We have to toughen up."

Williams showed some toughness, playing despite a bruised left calf and a bad back. He had 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists, saying he felt fine once he loosened up.

Williams had 27 points, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range, in Utah's 112-95 win over Philadelphia last Dec. 29, the teams' last meeting. It was the Jazz's 30th win in their last 37 games against the Sixers.

However, five of Utah's defeats during that span were at Philadelphia. The Jazz are 1-3 away from EnergySolutions Arena after going 15-26 on the road last season.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 12, 2009


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