For a team that had lost 12 of 15 games, the Utah Jazz were glad about two things Monday. First, they were happy to be back at EnergySolutions Arena. Second, they were thankful they were facing a heavily struggling Philadelphia 76ers team. Those two factors resulted in a very welcome 107-91 win that snapped a four-game losing streak.
For the first time in a while, there was no suspense in this game. Utah jumped out to a 10-0 run and led 14-2 just three minutes into the game. The Sixers looked confused and somewhat indifferent, as the Jazz were able to easily control the game on both ends of the court. They swarmed Philadelphia, picking off many passes that led to open-court fast-break baskets. Likewise, they dominated in their halfcourt sets.
It was simply a much-needed win for a team looking for a shot of confidence. Utah moved to 35-36, 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Balanced Basketball: It was a fine night for many Utah Jazz individuals. It was an even better not for them as a group. The Jazz are very tough to beat when they display a balanced effort, something they did very well Monday night.
Seven players scored at least 11 points and one other had nine. Ten players played between 13 and 31 minutes. When it was all said and done, the Jazz bested the Sixers in every major statistical category.
The starters, in particular, were sharp and cohesive. They came out aggressive and were as smooth offensively as they’ve been this season. After several games where they have struggled in this category, the opening five players each posted a plus-11 or better plus-minus mark. Furthermore, each of the starters shot 50 percent or better from the field.
Odds and Ends:
• On their 32 made shots, Philadelphia recorded a paltry nine assists — a meager 28.1 percent clip. Sixers All-Star Jrue Holiday, who entered the game fourth in the NBA with an 8.7 assist per game average, was held to just one assist
• Key offseason acquisition Andrew Bynum has not played a single minute in a Sixers uniform. And it could stay that way as the talented center will be an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason.
• Gordon Hayward, Randy Foye and Mo Williams combined to hit 7 of 10 3-pointers.
• Al Jefferson played a season-low 18 minutes, four less than his previous low. He still put in 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds during that time.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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