Tobias Harris is starting to get back to normal after missing six games with COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but the Philadelphia 76ers will remain without All-Star Joel Embiid for at least one more game.
Embiid will not play when the Sixers visit Salt Lake City late Tuesday night to play the Utah Jazz. Both teams come into this one on a slide and with two days of recovery.
Philadelphia will also be without Matisse Thybulle (protocols), Danny Green (left hamstring) and Ben Simmons (personal reasons).
The Jazz, meanwhile, appear closer to getting one of the guys they are counting on this season. Rudy Gay, who signed with the team in the offseason, fully participated in a Utah practice for the first time on Monday. He missed the first part of the season after undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur from his right heel.
Gay also practiced Utah’s G-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, on Sunday.
“Trying to get back and get with the players and figure things out after the season has started, it’s a process,” Gay told media Monday. “I feel good, my body feels good, and I think me being on the court can help this team.”
Gay has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game, but the struggling Jazz can use his services sooner than later. After winning seven of their first eight games, Utah has hit a slump and won just one of its last five games.
That includes two straight home losses to the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in which the Jazz trailed by double digits.
“We have to not only be more forceful, but we have to be the aggressor in many situations,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve done that before. It can be done … that just has to be something that we’re more committed to, because it hurts us.”
Philadelphia is also feeling the pain of Embiid’s absence right now. The Sixers have lost four straight without their star big man.
On the bright side, Harris is getting into his groove again. Harris scored a season-high 32 points in Philly’s loss to the Pacers on Saturday. That included 10-of-22 shooting and 11 rebounds.
“It’s getting there,” Harris said. “I’ve definitely felt a bit frustrated at times. With two days, I’ll continue to up the conditioning.”
The 76ers also had nice outings from Tyrese Maxey (24 points) and Andre Drummond (16 rebounds, 11 points) but couldn’t get any closer than five down the stretch against Indiana.
Indiana’s Justin Holiday punished Philadelphia off the bench for 27 points. The Pacers led by as many as 20 points in the first half.
“They made tough shots,” Harris said. “But we knew who their shooters were and we didn’t execute. Holiday goes out there and starts rolling. We gave him a lot of good looks. I just thought there were too many possessions where we let them get too comfortable there. To rally from that with everything else going on, it was tough for us.”
–Field Level Media