The story was the same: the Jazz struggle on the road. They don't get enough help from the right people. A couple of starters struggle mightily. Someone on the opposing side plays far beyond what he usually does. And viewers feel like they've just seen a bunch of athletes with a couple of hours short of needed sleep.
Friday night, it was the Williamses (Mo and Marvin) who struggled most for the Jazz, while Al Jefferson wasn't great, either. Two nights after scoring nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, Philadelphia's Jason Richardson went off for 20 on 7-of-12 shooting — not to mention eight rebounds and a couple of steals. Those things, plus shooting below average (44 percent) while getting outrebounded, helped do in Utah, which fell 99-93 at Philadelphia.
GUARDS: Sometimes, 22-year-old Jrue Holiday (26 points, seven assists, six rebounds) made Mo Willliams (12 points, 5-of-14 shooting) look like an old man. The near-30-year-old struggled to get the Jazz offense into a rhythm, though he did score seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in the final period. Gordon Hayward was largely inefficient on offense while being largely responsible for allowing Richardson to thrive. After scoring 16 or more points in Utah's first five games, Williams has scored 14 or less in three of the past four. Two have been in single digits. And he's been 18-of-55 in those four contests. GRADE: D+.
FORWARDS: For the fourth straight game (inversely to Mo Williams), Paul Millsap was tremendous. With 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds and three assists, the Louisiana Tech product led the Jazz front line. He should have played more than 28 minutes. The Sixers' Thaddeus Young (14 points, eight rebounds) lived up to his billing.
Marvin Williams (two points, 1-of-4 shooting) was a non-factor offensively while his counterpart Evan Turner (11 points, four rebounds, four assists) was solid. Marvin Williams has shot 33 percent or less from the field in three of the past five games. GRADE: C-.
CENTERS: On par for the course so far this season, Jefferson (15 points, 5-of-14 shooting) was far from great offensively. But Big Al continued to rebound well with nine glass-cleaners. Perhaps surprisingly, his rebound count was actually his third-lowest of the season, however. At least Philadelphia starting center Kwame Brown was, well, Kwame Brown, scoring just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in half the game. GRADE: C+.
BENCH: Jamaal Tinsely, DeMarre Carroll, Randy Foye, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter were on the floor during a fourth quarter comeback that saw the Jazz pull even at one point. The likely problem: they weren't kept on the floor in the contest's final few minutes. It's quite arguable the result would have been different had that been the case. The Utah reserves outscored the Philadelphia bench 34-26, led by a wonderful evening from Carroll (17 points, 6-of-6 shooting and five rebounds in just 23 minutes). It was perhaps his best personal outing as a Jazzman.
Lavoy Allen was the Sixers' version of a random bench player who may have been the difference. The 5.6 points-per-game scorer, who drew blanks in the point column in two recent games, scored 10. Nick Young averages 8.8 but scored 12 on 3-of-5 shooting. GRADE: B.
OVERALL: Can much more be said? The Jazz once again looked mediocre away from EnergySolutions Arena. Tyrone Corbin probably shouldn't have been so militant in replacing the comeback team with traditional starters who were struggling. If Utah is going to be a top team, sooner or later minutes are going to have to be tiltled more with some players (e.g., Derrick Favors or Randy Foye) than others (e.g., Marvin Williams). Indeed, Corbin needs to do some sequestration (of playing time). Utah loses a half grade for losing in this fashion to an average-at-best team. GRADE: C-.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously a Deseret News intern, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @wilklogan
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