The Jazz had so … many … chances to get back in the game, but they missed.
They erased a 16-point first-half deficit. They forced 22 turnovers. They made 28 free throws. But when it came to the open looks that would ultimately decide the game, they simply couldn’t get anything to fall.
Utah (5-6) shot only 30.3 percent from the field, and the result was a 104-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers (6-4).
“Obviously we had an abysmal night shooting the ball,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve just got to be better.”
Rodney Hood scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, and Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 15 rebounds (plus two steals and three blocks).
Dario Saric finished with a game-high 25 points, while veteran sharpshooter JJ Redick added 20 points in the win. Star rookie Ben Simmons stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. He also committed five fouls and turned the ball over six times in 36 minutes.
The Sixers played without leading scorer Joel Embiid, who was held out for “load management” purposes.
Thabo Sefolosha’s stat line—eight points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 24 minutes—may not stand out, but his aggressive play on both ends of the floor was perhaps the main reason Utah was able to stay in the game. Sefolosha finished with a net rating of +9 and provided the kind of steady veteran leadership that has been (and will continue to be) so valuable for this Jazz team.
The Jazz shot 3-for-17 to start the game and fell behind 28-12 in the first 10 minutes. Two free throws by Ekpe Udoh and a corner three by Jonas Jerebko, though, kick-started Utah’s offense and started the (first) slow comeback. The Jazz got defensive, as steals by Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell led to four points by Sefolosha. Derrick Favors drilled a corner three midway through the second quarter and then proceeded to swat away a layup attempt by Philadelphia’s T.J. McConnell. A driving layup by Mitchell brought the Jazz back to within four and prompted a Sixers timeout with 4:26 left in the second quarter.
Utah would tie the game at 41-41 before back-to-back buckets by McConnell and Redick gave the Sixers the lead. Mitchell, though, who had made only one of his first nine shots, drilled a long 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer and pull the Jazz within two at the break.
The Sixers built their lead back up to 18 during a lackluster third quarter for the Jazz, but Utah once again turned up the defense in the fourth. A block by Sefolosha led to a corner three by Mitchell, and then a steal by Rubio resulted in a transition dunk by Hood that cut Philadelphia’s lead to eight with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter. That, though, is as close as the Jazz got until they pulled within five in the final minute—when it was too late.
Nothing epitomized the night more than the ice-cold shooting of Utah’s backcourt trio—Rubio (4-for-16), Mitchell (3-for-21) and Hood (4-for-14) shot only 21.6 percent from the field.
The Jazz grabbed 14 steals and forced 22 turnovers, which they converted into 21 points. Udoh finished with a team-high three steals in 12 minutes. Utah committed only 12 turnovers (four by Rubio).
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“You don’t want to start passing shots up. I want our guys to stay aggressive, and those things come around eventually. It’s just hard because when you have a night like this, it’s difficult to win.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Tonight marked Philadelphia’s first win in Salt Lake City since January 5, 2005—nearly 13 years ago. … Philadelphia rookie (and No. 1 overall pick) Markelle Fultz remained out with a shoulder injury, though he did travel with the team. … Joe Ingles finished with 15 points and six rebounds, and he shot 3-for-10 from 3-point range. … As a team, Utah shot 23.1 percent (9-for-39) from beyond the arc. … Rubio finished with 11 points and a team-high eight assists. … The Jazz shot 80.0 percent (28-for-35) from the free-throw line.
The Jazz will stay at home for a matchup with the Miami Heat on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.