On Sunday, coach Quin Snyder leaned back in a windowless room in the Jazz’s practice facility and acknowledged the obvious: The road back could be a long one. “There is always an optimism at the beginning of the season,” Snyder told Yahoo Sports. “And I’m not saying there isn’t that now, but it’s tempered a little bit with the personnel changes.” Indeed, since losing Hayward, Utah has been ravaged by injuries, from the potentially season-ending shoulder injury to Dante Exum, to a balky right wrist that has cost Joe Johnson all of November, to a knee injury that will keep Rudy Gobert on the sideline for at least the next month. Gobert’s injury looms largest: The 7-foot-1 pivot was the anchor of one of the NBA’s top defenses, and the Jazz have been gashed badly in the two games he has missed.
November 21, 2017 | 10:00 pm EST Update
While on SportsCenter, Jemele Hill asked Embiid if he’s concerned about other players having more motivation to go after him the more he trolls. Embiid gave the most Joel Embiid response. He said: “I’m 7-2 and I’m a big dude, so I don’t think you wanna try me. And I’m African too. That’s the whole point of playing basketball. Having fun, go out there, have fun, kick someone’s a—, and just play basketball.”
Damian Lillard says that teams can no longer face the Sixers without expecting a fight. “I think in the past we took them lightly. They kind of jumped out and played hard and they beat us,” Lillard said following a Tuesday-evening practice at the Sixers training complex in Camden. “This year, you have no choice but to respect what they’ve done and how they’re playing. They’re not doing it like it’s luck, they’re out there hooping.”
Despite the rolled ankle, noticeable discomfort, and around-the-clock treatment, Lillard seems determined to face the Sixers. Lillard, who did not participate in practice, said he is looking forward to the matchup. “I told y’all that yesterday,” Lillard said, referring to previously saying he planned on playing in Philadelphia. “I pretty much got babied last night so it was good…I feel good.”
November 21, 2017 | 9:18 pm EST Update
Bill Oram: Luke Walton shut down any talk about LaVar Ball’s comments critical of Lakers coaching. “It’s not what we’re here to do or talk about,” Walton said. He adds that LaVar has done a “phenomenal job as a father. … We’re not concerned with how parents think we’re coaching the team.”