This Utah Jazz team is just silly! Another night, another win……. This time against the number one seed in the East Philadelphia 76ers. Despite 42 and 36 points from 76ers stars Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris the Jazz still managed to win. Albeit the Sixers were without MVP candidate Joel Embiid who was a late sratch but that might have actually made the game harder by opening up the floor for Ben Simmons who torched the Jazz in the first quarter. And yet, the Jazz never panicked and slowly but surely imposed their will on Philadelphia who could do nothing to stop the Jazz machine tonight.
The first quarter might have been a little bit concerning for some Jazz fans as it didn’t seem like the 76ers could miss and some may have thought we were going to have a repeat of the Denver Nuggets shooting anomaly game and end up losing. But the thing that is so deadly about this Jazz team is that they will make you think they forgot how to play defense and then before you know it they turn up the heat on both offense and defense. After a blistering shooting display from the Sixers in the first quarter the Jazz simultaneously clamped down on defense and Jordan “flamethrower” Clarkson shot them back into it. Clarkson made four straight three pointers in the second quarter and just like that the Jazz had climbed out of an early 14 point hole to take a 6 point lead into halftime. In the second half, the Jazz continued to slowly wear down the 76ers until the fourth quarter arrived and by that time the Sixers looked absolutely gassed. Jordan Clarkson was the MVP of the game for the Jazz and he ended up with 40 points.
Give credit to the 76ers, they played the Jazz about as well as any team has in the last 20 games and doing it without their MVP was impressive. The story of this game is the difference in depth of these two teams. After the first quarter was over and Philadelphia leading scorer Ben Simmons went to the bench, the Sixers really lost control. They kept the game within striking distance all the way until the end but as was previously mentioned, the Philadelphia starters looked really tired by the time the fourth quarter arrived and they just didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish off a team like the Jazz. Ben Simmons finished with a game high 42 points.
The Jazz can’t afford to get complacent now that they find themselves as a title contender. The are a lot of really good teams in the NBA who are going to be coming at the Jazz with all they got and looking to knock them off their perch. It was a good gut check win for the Jazz tonight and it’s good that they pulled out the win even in a game where they can take plenty to learn from and improve.
Royce O’Neale deserves honorary mention for standing up to Ben Simmons in the second half, but Jordan Clarkson is the clear MVP of this game.
Clarkson’s shooting tonight was pure silliness. He scored 40 points while shooting 13/20 (65%) from the field and 8/13 (61.5%) on 3-pointers. Utah was playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and it showed in their transition defense, and guarding Ben Simmons in general, but because of Clarkson’s insane scoring ability it didn’t matter.
Jordan Clarkson has been one of multiple big stories for the Jazz this year and one of the biggest reasons they’ve been so much fun.