The world’s not ending. We’ve just got to figure it out and go from there. —Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood
SALT LAKE CITY — Way back when DJs were still being applauded for playing Terror Squad’s “Lean Back” song in parties.
When George W. Bush was still America’s president. When Kanye West was still a fairly new artist.
Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons hadn’t even been in the world a decade.
He was just 8 when the Sixers last beat the Utah Jazz at home. What does Simmons remember about that timeframe?
“What do I remember? Nothing,” Simmons said before smiling in the visitor’s locker room at Vivint Arena. “I don’t remember that.”
Well, here’s a quick history lesson, young fella.
NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson was still on the Philly roster, and the Vivint Arena wasn’t the Vivint Arena then.
It was called the Delta Center, when Philly last topped Utah at home, 106-99, on Jan. 5, 2005.
That all changed Tuesday night, when the Sixers snapped Utah’s 12-game home win streak against the previously struggling franchise, 104-97.
Utah has now dropped three straight games after shooting 30.3 percent in its latest performance.
“Obviously, we had an abysmal night shooting the ball,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “I thought the beginning of the first and the beginning of the third quarter, those two stretches really hurt us.”
Making his debut in Salt Lake City, Simmons didn’t disappoint. He finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists — including a pair of big third-quarter jams. He did turn the ball over six times and didn’t particularly shoot well, making 7-of-22 attempts, but his playmaking ability was on full display as a 6-foot-10 point guard.
“He’s unique,” Snyder said of Simmons. “I think everyone game plans against him, in one way or another, because he is the engine.
“I think when people lower their pickup points against him, which is typically what you see if you go out on the floor against him, there isn’t a lot of guys that are able to handle the ball as effectively as he is against smaller guys.”
Even without star center Joel Embiid, the Sixers were able to win their fifth consecutive game. The team decided to rest Embiid, due to “load management,” but will make him available for Thursday’s game in Sacramento. Fans were looking forward to his matchup against Jazz star Rudy Gobert — respected as one of the league’s top defensive centers.
Gobert would finish with 16 points, 15 rebounds and two steals while matching up against third-year big man Richaun Holmes, who started in Embiid’s absence.
“It’s always fun to compete with some of the talented guys in the position,” Gobert said on facing Embiid. “Hopefully he plays when we go back in Philly.”
Holmes ended with six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes. Dario Saric led the 76ers with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Philly didn’t shoot well, either, hitting just 42 percent, but Utah couldn’t seem to capitalize on anything, with Donovan Mitchell connecting on 3-of-21 attempts for eight points, Joe Ingles making 6-of-16 shots for 15 points and Rodney Hood making 4-of-14 baskets for 19 points.
Ricky Rubio started 0-for-5 to begin the first quarter, with many of them being wide-open midrange jump shots. He ended with 11 points and eight assists.
Gobert’s layup with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth cut the deficit to 100-97, after Utah trailed by as many as 18 in the game.
“We’ve just got to figure it out,” Hood said. “The world’s not ending. We’ve just got to figure it out and go from there.”
Utah (5-6) will have a shot at revenge on Monday, Nov. 20, in the City of Brotherly Love. But for now, Philly (6-4) can enjoy the victory.
“I think we did well today and it’s on to the next one,” Simmons said. “It shows a lot about our team that we pushed, we can fight through it, and it’s guys who step up.”