SALT LAKE CITY – They don't appear to be the 76ers we've come to know.
Things could revert back if they suffer a lopsided loss Monday night to the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. However, the Sixers (2-30) have been a confident bunch since coming out west on Friday.
Maybe it is because of the reacquisition of Ish Smith as their point guard in Thursday's trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Maybe it has something with do with Carl Landry (wrist) getting healthy and finally playing, or the addition of Mike D'Antoni as associate head coach.
Whatever the reason, it led them to Saturday's 111-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
"This is a fresh start," said coach Brett Brown, whose team snapped a 12-game skid. "I think how we break down the seasons, it gives us a chance to, like, release things in the past and move forward.
"So we feel like we are 1-0 in this middle third [of the season] with Ish back and playing well. You know we got a beat on the program right now. There's a pulse to the program. You just want to grow it and keep it going."
Suddenly, the thought of the Sixers winning back-to-back games for the first time since beating the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks on March 18-20 of last season doesn't seem crazy.
The Jazz (12-16) have lost two straight and six of their last eight games. Utah also has injuries to two starters and a key reserve.
Power forward Derrick Favors' status for Monday's game is to be determined. He is battling back spasms. Meanwhile, center Rudy Gobert (Grade II MCL sprain in left knee) and reserve guard Alec Burks (fractured left fibula) are out.