By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers had a lot on the line as they faced the Utah Jazz in a rematch. They wanted to push their lead over the Brooklyn Nets to one game, and they wanted to make a statement against the Jazz. Despite a hot shooting night from three by Utah. Philly was able to flatten them in overtime and beat them 131-123.
It started out looking good for Philly. They got out to a six-point lead and were playing some intense perimeter defense, that force Utah to miss their shots. However, guard Donovan Mitchell powered a 10-0 Jazz run that gave Utah the lead. He scored 12 of his 31-points in the first quarter. When he wasn’t hitting shots he was finding his teammates for wide-open threes. They hit 21/38 three-pointers and that was the big difference in this game.
Otherwise it was a very competitive game. Despite some defensive lapses. Philly kept on fighting and made it tough on the Jazz on both sides of the ball.
The Sixers had a tough night from three, but unlike the last time they played the Jazz, center Joel Embiid was available. He made his presence felt scoring 40-points and hitting a late-game three to send the game into overtime. He made up for lost time, by attacking Utah’s defenders in the paint and from the perimeter. They had no answer for him. He also had a timely block that allowed the Sixers to get a late-game layup that helped them retake the lead.
On his peformance so far this season, “This year I want to destroy everything in my path,” said Embiid.
Though Embiid had a good game. The hero in overtime was a returning forward Tobias Harris (22-points) who scored four late game buckets to help the Sixers put the Jazz away. The Sixers made a statement heading into the All-Star break.
On the team’s performance, “We’re playing good basketball. But there’s a great team in us,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
For Philly as they head into the break. They definitely need to find a way to improve their bench unit. They are in need of another wing player who can create and hit threes consistently, and a point guard who can be the general for the second unit and help out Shake Milton.
Philly is in first place in the Eastern Conference and they look poise to make noise in the playoffs and possibly contend for a championship.