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Utah Jazz 95 Philadelphia 76ers 91 Game Recap: Gordon Hayward saves face, the Jazz, in that order

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This game was frustrating

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to be real here, missing Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert -- like is supposed to be tough for the Utah Jazz. However, it wasn't supposed to be THIS tough that beating the two-win Philadelphia 76ers at HOME was supposed to be an uphill climb. Yes, the Jazz had 21 point lead at one point -- but the 76ers never gave up.

In fact, during the fourth quarter they were winning for a bit. The 95-91 victory was hard fought, and if it wasn't for Gordon Hayward's three pointer out of a time out with 33 seconds left in the game, this night would have been a lot worse for a lot of people in Utah.

The confusing thing was Quin Snyder's continued preference for playing Trevor Booker over Jeff Withey. Booker is too small and slow to deal with Nerlens Noel (who was dunking on the Jazz with aplomb). Noel finished with 18 points (8/9 shooting), and Booker was not slowing him down at all. They even set up an Alley-oop in crunch time and got that with very little resistance. Withey, who started, had 11 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and 1 assist in this game -- but only played 24 minutes. He sat for the fourth. I don't get it.

I do get that Philly, even with all the Jazz injuries, are worse without Jahlil Okafor (and Joel Embiid). I am beginning to doubt the process. For Utah, Hayward finished with 24 points and brought home the win he should as the star player on the team. Rodney Hood had 13 (but went 0/5 from deep), Trey Burke added 14 off the bench. And this team is really going to struggle against actual NBA teams.

The Jazz play next on Wednesday, visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first game of a December ending back-to-back set that finishes with a New Year's Ever home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.