Jazz-76ers Preview

BY foxsports • March 5, 2015

The Utah Jazz have responded well after their most recent defeats, stringing together consecutive wins each time.

Following a deflating loss, they will try to begin another streak Friday night by toppling the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.

Utah (24-36) has won seven of 10 and had claimed a season-high three consecutive victories before an 85-84 loss in Boston on Wednesday. The Celtics' Tyler Zeller made the winning basket as time expired and allowed his team to escape with a victory after blowing an eight-point lead in the final 2:18.

"We should have won," said Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose team was also denied its first three-game road win streak in two seasons. "We made good plays at the end, and we had the game."

Following each of its previous three losses, Utah came back with easy victories by an average of 16.7 points.

Utah will try to bounce back with its fifth consecutive victory over the 76ers (13-48). They won 88-71 on Dec. 27 in the only meeting this season behind Derrick Favors' 17 points and season high-tying 15 rebounds.

While Favors and fellow former lottery picks Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke are showing glimpses of a potentially bright future in Utah, there hasn't been much to get Philadelphia excited. The 76ers are opening a season-high five-game homestand having lost seven of eight.

However, they did see a big bright spot in Wednesday's 123-118 overtime loss to Oklahoma City as unheralded second-year player Isaiah Canaan scored a career-high 31 points and hit eight 3-pointers. The 6-foot Canaan, who also had seven rebounds and six assists in his seventh game since being acquired from Houston, is averaging 13.4 points with Philadelphia after scoring 6.2 per game for the Rockets.

Even with his exploits Wednesday, the Sixers blew a 16-point lead in the second half. However, they did bounce back to score the final eight points of regulation to force overtime.

"There isn't back down in the group," coach Brett Brown said. "We're trying to build a program through ... a fighting spirit. I think the group did that."

Jason Richardson provided a season-best 29 points and the tying 3-pointer with 27.1 seconds left in regulation. Richardson, averaging 16.8 points in his last four games, has quickly returned to form after ending a 25-month absence due to knee and foot problems Feb. 20.

Robert Covington, one of the 76ers' top scorers at 13.2 points per game, has missed the past two contests because of a bruised right elbow and is questionable for this one.

Covington had 17 points and nine rebounds - one shy of a career high - in the loss at Utah in December.

The 76ers shot 32.4 percent in that game while the Jazz weren't much better at 35.7. The teams were a combined 9 of 49 from 3-point range.

Utah has shot 21.2 percent from beyond the arc over its past three games. Hayward is in a 4-for-25 slump from 3-point range and Burke has missed his last nine attempts.

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