If you believe that the game against the Miami Heat was the biggest of the season, you’re wrong. Move over LeBron and give me Spencer Hawes. Beating the Heat is nothing; beating the 76ers, now that’s where things get interesting.
Last weekend, Jazz fans couldn’t hold onto their seats as they anxiously awaited their Saturday night date. The Big 3, and back-to-back NBA champion Heat, were coming into town to take on the Utah Jazz. The Jazz were fresh off a thumping loss to the Mavericks and currently riding a 4 game losing streak. LeBron James vs Marvin Williams? Please, the Jazz didn’t stand a chance.
Yet, Jazz fans were desperately looking forward to this game. Tickets were hard come by as everyone wanted to be “A Witness” and see James in the flesh, all 6 ft 8, 250 lb of him. It was the one time the Heat would come to town this season and Jazz fans wouldn’t miss out.
And so it was packed. So it was loud. So it was the Delta Center of old. Players must’ve missed the memo they weren’t supposed to compete as the Jazz were in the game. In fact, at halftime the Jazz were winning 52-50, which to many fans would have been victory enough. Minutes rolled on and Marvin played magnificently and James played well, unmagnificently. As the game became tight, with minutes left, Trey Burke hit a clutch jumper that ultimately sealed the game. The Jazz overcame the improbable and won their season Super Bowl by defeating the champs.
Yet, what I contend and what I would like to argue is that Jazz fans should be eagerly awaiting this week and its match-ups even more than the last! In must see TV, on back to back nights nonetheless, the Jazz will participate in the Tank Bowl, matching up with the 18-33 Lakers on Tuesday and then the 15-38 76ers on Wednesday. To me, Wednesday should be the highly anticipated event – the Tankapoolza of all that has ever tanked. Yes, the prime-time, must see TV between the lowly Jazz and the even lowlier 76ers.
In all honesty, both teams are so alike it’s scary. Both are led by rookie PG’s, arguably the 1-2 of the 2013 draft class and future Rookie of the Year rankings. Both teams have a young, 3rd year, talented wing who is looking to break out in Gordon Hayward and Evan Turner. Turner anchors the 76ers, averaging 17.4 points on 43.1% shooting and collects 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 35 minutes a game. Hayward is strikingly similar with 16.3 points a game on 40% shooting with 5 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 36.3 minutes. Who would you rather have is a debate for another day, but the similarities are there. And, to take these two team comparison a bit further, both are supposed to be leading the Tanking Rankings and should be at the bottom of the totem pole. Yet, 76ers have beat the Heat as well and also good teams like the Blazers and Rockets while the Jazz have recently upset the Heat and Thunder.
What adds even more intrigue to the matter is that the 76ers have just lost back to back games by 40+ points! By the time they get into SLC, who knows what their morale will look like. They could respond with passion and beat the Jazz, which would let pro-tank fans hail Jabari’s name. Or, the 76ers might stay in Dante’s inferno and forget to play basketball so the Jazz win. And maybe win by double digits. Heck, maybe even send Philly to the All-Star game with three games in a row by 40+, much to the delight of the pro-win Jazz fans.
If you like to watch the Jazz win, you’ll love this game. If you like to watch the Jazz get a leg up in regards to collecting ping-pong balls, you’ll love this game. If you are somewhere in the middle, you’ll love this game.
It’s a match made in Heaven. Forget about the Heat; that’s old news now. Let’s get jammed for Sixers.