By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers headed into the fourth game of their Western Conference road trip looking to bounce back after being burned by the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. Unfortunately for Philly even though they battled with all of their hearts against the Utah Jazz. They once again were overpowered by a good perimeter shooting night from an opponent. They fell to the Jazz 134-123.
It started out looking good for the Sixers. They started the game hot, and hit their first four shots and got out to an early 14-point lead over the Jazz. They were powered by guard/forward Ben Simmons. He scored a career-high 42-points. He took full advantage of the fact that none of Utah’s defenders could match-up with him. He got what he wanted from anywhere on the court. He also had help from forward Tobias Harris. He scored 36-points a season-high for him. Both of these guys took charge in the absence of center Joel Embiid who missed his sixth game of the season with back tightness.
On Harris’ performance, When he plays like that, he’s hard to deal with. I thought he played a very decisive game. He is really keeping the game simple,” said Head Coach Doc Rivers.
The Jazz took full advantage of Embiid’s absence and they attacked the Sixers from the paint and the perimeter. They used good ball movement to carve up Philly from the perimeter. When the Philly defenders would run them off the three-point line they would just attack the paint. Guards Donovan Mitchell (24-points) and Jordan Clarkson (40-points) destroyed the Sixers. They combined for 64 of Utah’s 134-points, and both were particularly deadly from the three-point line. They combined to hit 10-threes.
Despite all that this was a winnable game for the Sixers even without Embiid. They took the team with the best record in the NBA and gave them all they could handle. Unfortunately for Philly a poor performance from the bench and bad perimeter defense cost them another game. The defense is fixable, but without guard Shake Milton who is out with a sprained ankle. They do not have that punch off the bench. The Sixers need to find another scorer and a forward to help out their first unit. Only scoring 25 bench points does not cut it in today’s NBA.
On the Sixers offensive struggles, “Simple math, 3 is more than 2,” said Harris.
The Sixers now have two days to get right as they face a game Houston Rockets team on Wednesday night. They will need better perimeter defense and a serviceable performance from the bench if they want to stop this three-game losing streak.