In what will be a blockbuster encounter, the Utah Jazz travel to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. East versus West, the league's best record versus the East's best record, it promises to provide everything.
Thankfully for the fans too, both teams should be at full strength, including current MVP hopeful Joel Embiid, who missed the last matchup between the two sides.
Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to take advantage of the Utah Jazz in the paint after the Jazz conceded 74 points in their loss against the Pelicans on Monday.
Monday was only the Utah Jazz' 3rd loss in ten and 8th overall of the season as they continue to be the league's runaway side. Meanwhile, for the Philadelphia 76ers, they will be looking to hold the Brooklyn Nets at bay in the East after losing 5 of their previous 10 encounters.
Utah Jazz vs Philadelphia 76ers - 3 key matchups to enjoy
As mentioned, both the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be at full strength for the encounter, with Tobias Harris hoping to return to the floor for Philly.
The Utah Jazz have enjoyed having their preferred starting 5 consistently on the floor this season, with Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles providing effective scoring off the bench. For the Philadelphia 76ers, they have had few major injury concerns apart from Joel Embiid's back tightness at times.
However, the center is expected to be the focal point of the Sixers offense on Wednesday against an elite defense.
Let's take a look at what the key matchups will be on the night.
#3 Mike Conley Jr. vs Seth Curry
After injuries thwarted his first season with the Utah Jazz, Mike Conley returned this year in style. The 14-year veteran is proving that he can be as good as any guard on his night, and was recently regarded as a snub from the All-Star game given how well he has performed this season for the Jazz.
Conley is averaging a career-high 41.3% from downtown and is grabbing 1.5 steals a night. He is proving why his all-round game is so valuable to the best side in the league, providing extremely efficient minutes and has an incredible on/off court net rating of +16.
From the Philadelphia 76ers, Seth Curry will be Conley's opposite number. He is averaging a consistent 12.4 points a night, shooting the three-ball at over 44%.
Curry was brought in to be the Philadelphia 76ers' fourth scorer, therefore his numbers were to be expected. He is a stable ball-handler who also has a positive net rating when he is on the floor of 6.5 (a career-high).
#2 Donovan Mitchell vs Ben Simmons
Ever since their Rookie of the Year beef in 2018, Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell have continued to be among the league's top talent and present one of the most intriguing matchups on the night.
Donovan Mitchell has responded to early-season criticism by being consistent and dominant on offense for the Utah Jazz. The fourth-year point guard has been pivotal in the Jazz' success, putting up career high points (24.4) and assists (5.4).
Mitchell, along with his fellow Jazz teammates, is putting up more threes (8.6 a night) with a personal-best consistency rate (38%).
His opponent, Ben Simmons, will be on the Utah Jazz guard's back all night, being the superior defensive player of the two. With his height and length, Simmons is an oversized guard but uses this to his advantage, grabbing 1.6 steals and 8 rebounds a night for the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers star even went as far to say that he believes he's the best defender in the NBA, that he enjoys guarding the opponent's best player every night.
#1 Rudy Gobert vs Joel Embiid
Two of the NBA's best centers will face off on Wednesday night in what should be an enthralling battle between Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid. Since Joel Embiid missed the earlier season contest between the two sides, this will be the first opportunity for fans to see how Rudy Gobert matches up against the current MVP candidate.
There are few teams in the league who have found an answer to the Philadelphia 76ers star this season, however, the Utah Jazz stopper could be the best of anyone to do so. Gobert is himself having a stellar season, averaging 14.2 points and 13.2 rebounds and, more importantly for this battle, a career-high 2.8 blocks a night.
Gobert's contribution on the defensive end is part of the reason the Utah Jazz have the second-best defense in the league. He is on course to being named in the All-Defensive team of the year for the 5th time in his career.
Joel Embiid will, therefore, have his work cut out on offense. Doc Rivers seems to have unlocked the potential in the 5th-year center, with Embiid among the top-3 candidates currently for MVP.
The Cameroonian is averaging a monster 29.8 points and 11.3 rebounds a night for the Philadelphia 76ers. Not only will Gobert's abilities be tested in the paint, but Embiid has improved his game from the 3-point line, making a career-high 41.7% of attempts.