Jazz, 76ers meeting at right time
Some losses sting, momentary setbacks in the middle of the season that may seem inexplicable, but fade over time.
And some losses are truly historic.
That the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz find each other at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center — the 76ers coming off a disappointing loss at Orlando and the Jazz coming off an utterly unbelievable defeat in Dallas — is perhaps a stroke of luck.
For one of the teams, at least.
The 76ers simply fell 111-106 on Wednesday night in a winnable game that slipped away as the Magic blitzed them, 35-19, in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz, however, lost 118-68 to lowly Dallas on Wednesday, the worst loss for the team since moving to Utah, and the Mavericks’ second-largest margin of victory in team history. The Mavs set a team record for stinginess, holding the Jazz to 22 second-half points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
If Philadelphia is reeling, Utah is doubled over in pain right about now.
“There was a point where we stopped competing,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder told reporters after the game. “We all have to own that and obviously the scoreboard represented it.”
There was no hiding from the truth on Wednesday. Utah stunk, and it knew it. The Jazz shot 31.3 percent from the field and 17 percent from 3-point range, with only one player — power forward Derrick Favors — having a plus-minus ratio better than negative-12. Favors was negative-five.
Utah allowed Dallas to shoot 58 percent from the field, with no starter playing more than 26 minutes. In the second half, the Mavericks outscored the Jazz, 60-22.
“They outplayed us in every lineup and every guy we got up on the court against,” center Rudy Gobert said. “We simply got outplayed from the first to last minute. Everything negative that could have happened on the court was happening tonight.”
The 76ers didn’t exactly fight Murphy’s Law in their loss to Orlando, but they certainly know they let one slip away against the Magic in Jimmy Butler’s debut.
Seeking their first road winning streak of the year, the Sixers led by 11 after three quarters — outscoring Orlando 35-23 in the third quarter — before the Magic rallied back late.
Philadelphia’s loss wasn’t exactly a franchise low, but it was certainly not how they wanted to introduce themselves to Butler, who scored just 14 points in the loss. Head coach Brett Brown knows his biggest challenge in the near future is to make the talent gel, and quick.
“It’s now my job to integrate him into the program,” Brown told reporters. “To tap into his skill sets, and put him in a position to do well and help the team win. That is different. From coaching human beings and coaching the players and correcting and teaching and talking, there is zero difference to me. But the inclusion of him from a talent perspective, yes, there is.”
“We just didn’t play with a lot of pride defensively,” Utah guard Donovan Mitchell said after the loss to Dallas. “Obviously, when shots aren’t falling, our defense has to drive us even more.”