The Philadelphia 76ers started the season out as perhaps the league’s biggest surprise. They darted out to a 20-9 record, before losing eight out of 10. They appear to be back on track. After Wednesday’s blowout win over the Boston Celtics, they kept things going, soundly beating the visiting Utah Jazz 104-91.
The Sixers used a strong second half to put Utah away, outscoring the Jazz 55-44. Utah fell to 2-2 on their current five-game road trip, while also dropping to 19-20 for the season.
Balanced Basketball: Philadelphia may be the most balanced squad in the NBA. And the Sixers showed that balance Friday night.
Coming into the game, nine players averaged between 6.8 and 15.7 points per outing. Eleven were averaging double-figure minutes (injuries contributing to that) with eight getting 24.0 to 35.3 a game.
Friday, five players scored in double figures, with reserves Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young leading the way with 21 points apiece. Starting guards Evan Turner and Jrue Holday each chipped in 16. Philadelphia’s lone All-Star, Andre Iguodala, had 10 points (going five for five from the floor), 10 assists, and seven rebounds.
They also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Utah 46-42. They also tallied 26 assists to the Jazz’s 15.
Struggling Starters: First, the good news: the Jazz bench was solid, combining for 48 points. Sophomores Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward had 14 and 13 respectively. They were efficient from the floor and played with good energy.
Now, the bad news: Utah’s starters managed to put just 43 on the board. Veterans Josh Howard and Raja Bell paired up for a miserable night: four points, 1 for 11 from the field, two rebounds, and one assist combined.
Al Jefferson, after two of his best games of the year, came back to earth. He was held to just 14 points and six rebounds and just could not get things going. Devin Harris started torridly in the first quarter, but tailed off the rest of the game.
Paul Millsap was the bright spot, with a nice line of 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
- Enes Kanter played just four minutes and was held scoreless and reboundless.
- Philadelphia’s three main reserves, Young (+21), Williams (+18), and Nikola Vucevic (+15) had stellar +/- marks off the pine.
- After making a three-point shot in 18 straight games prior to his recent injury, Bell has not made one in the three games since he returned to the line-up.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.