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Banged-up Sixers lose slog of a game to Jazz

Down three starters — including Joel Embiid — the Sixers struggled on both ends of the floor in a loss to the Jazz Saturday.

Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

This was certainly a weekend to forget.

The Sixers fell 120-109 Saturday night after getting thoroughly outplayed by the Utah Jazz. Lauri Markkanen led all scorers with 33, shooting 12-of-19 from the floor along with 13 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson had 22 points.

Tyrese Maxey struggled all night, but led the Sixers with 25 points shooting 9-of-24 from the field. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 24, shooting 8-of-18

Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris joined a laundry list of Sixers unable to suit up tonight due to injury.

Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.

First Quarter

  • With how many guys were out, they needed shots to come from somewhere— but the offense is such a tough watch when it slows to a crawl to let Marcus Morris Sr. post up in the midrange. Otherwise, he had a solid opening quarter. He knocked down a three, something the team continues to struggle with, and even jumped a passing lane to cause a steal.
  • The frontcourt was fairly aggressive early, as Paul Reed had six first-quarter points. He too, was looking for his midrange jumper, for better or worse. He nearly had an impressive poster over Walker Kessler, but had to settle for two free throws instead.
  • Philly’s defensive start wasn’t a whole lot different from last night. They struggled to contain dribble penetration which opened up the offense for Utah. The Jazz shot 65% from the floor in the first, but the Sixers were able to turn them over to keep things close. They had four steals on seven Jazz turnovers, and were down just four points despite a massive gap in shooting percentage after the first.

Second Quarter

  • Another way the Sixers made up for the shooting discrepancy was winning the rebounding battle. They grabbed 11 offensive boards, allowing them to take 14 more shots than the Jazz in the half.
  • Neither team was doing a good job of defending without fouling. Both teams were in the bonus just four minutes into the quarter. On the Sixers side, KJ Martin especially struggled. He was whistled for three fouls in his first four minutes of action.
  • The Sixers’ offense continued to look sleepy while being kept afloat by good shooting by Oubre — eight of his 10 first-half points came in the second. Utah threw a lot of variants of a box-and-1 at Maxey, which bottled him up fairly well in the half.
  • It was another rough half for Nico Batum, who shot 0-of-3 and once again had two uncharacteristic turnovers on back-to-back possessions. The Jazz took advantage of their transition opportunities in the second. They closed the gap to 11-10 in fast-break points despite turning the ball over nine more times. The Sixers trailed by one at the break.

Third Quarter

  • It was pretty telling about the offense that Reed’s midrange jumpers remained a consistent source of points. Philly didn’t adjust much to the way the Jazz were loading up on Maxey, they still had him bring the ball up for the first half of the quarter.
  • Utah was shooting just as poorly from deep as a team, thought Markkanen getting hot in the third was a big difference. He was 4-of-8 from downtown through three, with three of those makes coming in the third quarter, and all three did a good job of halting Philly’s momentum. Meanwhile, the Sixers shot 0-of-9 from three-point range in the third.
  • Mo Bamba continues to be a train wreck defensively. It takes him an impossibly long time to close out, allowing anyone to drive around him. The combination of that plus Utah’s bigs shooting the ball well forced the Sixers to go with Morris as a small-ball five. The Jazz pushed their lead to eight after three.

Fourth Quarter

  • For the second night in a row, the game really started to slip away at the beginning of the final quarter. The Jazz scored on six of their first seven possessions to extend their lead to double digits.
  • The Sixers needed someone, anyone to catch fire to have any hope at pulling off this comeback. They finally got some threes to fall during an eight-point stretch from Morris, but it was too little and far too late.
  • Per Cleaning the Glass, the Jazz shot 30-of-34 at the rim tonight. That’s just an unreal lack of resistance from the Sixers’ defense. They were literally walking into every shot at the basket tonight.
  • The Sixers will have some much-needed days off before they take the court again. Their next game is Wednesday night as they’ll head down to Atlanta to take on the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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