You could just see from the moment the ball was tipped that the Sixers weren't going to put in another terrible performance like their previous game against the Detroit Pistons. The Sixers were focused and ready to go from the start. Instead of coming out lackadaisical and careless, they came out hungry to win.
Jrue Holiday and Jason Richardson helped the Sixers jump out to an early lead thanks to making a high percentage of their early shots. The Sixers were absolutely deadly from 3 point range Friday night shooting at an impressive 55.6% clip (10-18). The Jazz answered back by hitting some shots of their own, and by working the ball inside to their big men. Jazz C Al Jefferson (5-14, 15) operated effectively on the block and drew some fouls to help the Jazz get to the FT line. PF Paul Millsap (9-15, 22) also gave the Sixers fits as he proved capable of scoring in the post or hitting easy mid-range jumpers.
The Jazz continued to play from behind but held the game close until a late second half run by the Sixers extended their lead to 53-42 at the end of the half.
Along with their big men, including Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors (should of drafted [sic]) off the bench, the Jazz were able stay close thanks in part to a career performance by DeMarre Carroll (6-6, 17 points).
The story of the second half was similar to the one in the first: the Sixers would go on a run to take a couple possession lead only to see it erased by the unrelenting Jazz. However, the Jazz never played well enough to seize the lead. With the Jazz unable to take control, the Sixers would go on another run to establish their lead. The perfect example of this scenario came when the Jazz tied the game at 71 and the Sixers responded by going on a 13-2 run to put them up 84-74 midway through the fourth quarter. It was all downhill for the home team from there.
It was great to see the Sixers respond to such a poor loss on Wednesday with a strong performance Friday night, especially after hearing the unfortunate news about Andrew Bynum.
Next up: Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town Sunday night to face off against the Sixers at 6:00 PM.
- The Sixers did a terrible, terrible job of getting to the FT line tonight. The box score shows they were 9-10 from the line, but a closer look reveals 8 of those FTA came with less than a minute to go when the game was practically over. Yikes. Meanwhile, the Jazz had 18 FTA.
- Evan Turner struggled to be efficient (5-11, 11 points) but at least he created some good looks for his team mates on 4 assists.
- Thaddeus Young has been rebounding surprisingly well.
- Jason Richardson can't continue to fly under the radar after performances like tonight. He spaces the floor by not only hitting 3's, but by how he moves without the ball in his hands.
- We're all guilty of getting on Kwame Brown for obvious reasons, but I'd rather have him in than Hawes when the Sixers are facing tough bigs like they did tonight. Hawes clearly struggled to defend Utah's big men and ended up a -20.
- Jrue's stats on the season (h/t Derek) -- 19.1 ppg, 8.6 apg, 45.6% shooting, 44.8% 3pt, 3.7 ftm/g, turnovers "down" to 5.2 per game. Have to keep working on getting that TO number down, Jrue.
- Dorell Wright only played about 5 minutes. Why? He wasn't injured, apparently. Doug Collins must have not liked this match up for him. It also didn't help that the Sixers were shooting so well from three and didn't need that from him.
Player of the Game: Jason Richardson
You could make a strong case for Jrue here as well, but I really liked how JRich shot so efficiently and spaced the floor Friday night. He also lead the team in rebounds with 8 (tied with Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young). Besides, Jrue has been getting a lot of love lately (see: $41 million contract extension). It's time to showyaluv to the guy most of us have underestimated.
SLC Dunk - Jazz perspective