It was not by 40, but the 76ers still came short last night against the Utah Jazz in 105-100 loss. Although it was against a subpar Utah Jazz team, the Sixers put forth a better showing than their previous two straight 40 point losses.
After trailing the Jazz by single digits for most of the game, the Jazz pulled away for an 89-75 lead with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. It seemed as if they were going to run away with the victory easily. But the Sixers fought back with a 16-2 run over the next seven minutes, which was capped off by a MCW 3-point play to tie it up at 91.
But just like true tankers, the Sixers next four possessions resulted in three missed shots and a turnover. Thus allowing the Jazz to go on a 9-0 run to take a 100-91 lead with 22 seconds left. Three straight James Anderson threes made an interesting final 20 seconds, but the Jazz converted enough free throws to walk away with the victory. The Jazz handed the Sixers a season high eighth straight loss.
One positive coming out of this game for the Sixers was the play of Michael Carter-Williams. Of course after I make a post of how MCW's lead in the ROY race may be slipping, he plays a really sold, all-around game. Carter-Williams posted a line of 19 points(6-13 FG, 7-9 FT), 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. He outplayed Utah's standout rookie point guard, Trey Burke, and really hounded him defensively all game. Carter-Williams also attacked the smaller Burke with a lot of strong drives to the basket, causing the Jazz to switch Alec Burks, a taller player, onto him to defend him late in the game.
So as the Sixers head into the All-Star break, they sit at 15-39 and second in the tank standings with 28 games remaining. They trail the Bucks, who have six less wins than them, and are ahead of the Magic, who have one more win. So after many people worried that the Sixers were winning too much at the beginning of the season, I think that you have to be satisfied as to where they stand now going into the break.
Also, last night could have very well been the last game for Evan Turner and/or Spencer Hawes in a Sixers uniform. With their next game being next Tuesday, it is possible that one or both get dealt over the break. If they make it to Tuesday, then that nights home game against the Cavs would most likely be their last game as Sixers.
So hopefully the Sixers enjoy their break and come back prepared for 28 games of even more intense tanking, due to the likelihood of losing two of their better players.
Finally, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and maybe Joel Embiid(status unclear due to injury) are in action on Saturday. So Sixers fans, if you need something to prepare you for this final 28 game stretch, watch one of our hopeful, future/potential stars.