76ers Loss One Of Jazz Worst This Season

Feb 1, 2024, 11:34 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 10:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz were stunned by the slumping Philadelphia 76ers 127-124 as they dropped their third straight game.

The Jazz’s defense had another rough outing as they allowed 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey to explode for a career-high 51 points.

Lauri Markkanen scored 28 points including 14 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to end the losing skid.

Jazz Loss To 76ers Is One Of Their Worst Of Season

With the Jazz desperately needing a win to wash the taste of their 2-4 road trip out of their mouths, it looked like the NBA schedule makers had thrown them a breath mint.

The 76ers rolled into Utah on the final game of what had been a winless five-game road trip, without MVP Joel Embiid who was diagnosed with a torn meniscus earlier in the day.

Philadelphia had been 3-9 on the season without Embiid in the lineup.

However, the Jazz were gashed by Maxey and the Sixers in the first quarter as they found themselves trailing 39-32 after 12 minutes.

The Jazz were down 10 at the half, and tied the game heading into the fourth quarter, but were outscored 34-31 in the final period, dropping to 2-6 in their last eight games.

The loss was compounded by the Los Angeles Lakers’ surprising shorthanded win over the Boston Celtics which put a full game between them and the Jazz in the standings, only made worse by the difficult schedule ahead.

Following Thursday’s loss, the Jazz will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, both of whom own the second-best records in their conferences.

They then travel to face the surging Phoenix Suns who have won eight of their last 10 games.

Before heading into the All-Star break, the tenth-seeded Jazz will return home to face the Golden State Warriors twice, bookending a meeting with the ninth-seeded Lakers.

It’s the type of stretch where every win will be significant, and every loss will feel amplified, especially after letting a golden opportunity against the 76ers slip through their fingers.

The Jazz are still very much in the playoff race, but with just one game separating them from the 12th seed in the Western Conference, these are the losses that may haunt them at the end of the regular season.

Hardy Discusses Markkanen All-Star Omission

Before facing the 76ers the Jazz and Markkanen learned that the current face of their franchise would not be representing the team at All-Star weekend.

Markkanen was not chosen as an All-Star reserve, losing out to Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Davis.

Though Markkanen’s resume may take a hit, his impact on the remains unchanged, and Hardy discussed it after learning of the forward’s omission.

“I wish Lauri was named to the All-Star team,” Hardy admitted, “but I also think that all the guys that were named to the All-Star team were deserving — Lauri statistically has been amazing.”

The Jazz forward was passed over despite averaging 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 49 percent from the floor, 39 percent from three, and 87 percent from the free-throw line during the Jazz’s first 49 games of the season.

“Speaking to his efficiency, the variety with which he does that I think is amazing,” Hardy said. “He gives us the opportunity every night, no matter who we’re playing or how they’re guarding us, he’s going to give us an opportunity to create some advantages for our team because of his wide-ranging skill set. He makes my job a lot easier.”

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While Markkanen wasn’t named to the initial list of All-Star reserves, he figures to be among the top candidates if an injury replacement is needed.

“There are nights where we all need to pinch ourselves and go, ‘What this guy does night in and night out is pretty amazing,'” Hardy concluded.

Utah Jazz’s Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday at 6 pm MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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76ers Loss One Of Jazz Worst This Season