SALT LAKE CITY - It was back to losing for the 76ers.
After beating the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, the Sixers headed to Salt Lake City to face the limping Utah Jazz. The visitors had a solid chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since March 18-20.
But the Jazz escaped with a 95-91 victory Monday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The loss dropped the Sixers to 2-31.
Ish Smith finished with 22 points to go with a game-high 11 assists. Fourteen of his points came after intermission. This was his second game with the Sixers after being reacquired in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
Nerlens Noel added 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks, and two steals. Richaun Holmes added 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting off the bench. Gordon Hayward led the winners with 24 points.
Going in, there was a sense that the Sixers would also be able to beat Utah (13-16).
The Jazz had lost two straight and six of their last eight games heading into the matchup. They were also without power forward Derrick Favors (back spasms), center Rudy Gobert (left knee sprain) and guard/sixth man Alec Burks (broken left leg). Point guard Donte Exum has been sidelined all season as he rehabilitates a left knee injury.
The Sixers battled back from a 21-point deficit and built an 82-78 cushion on Noel's dunk with 9 minutes, 40 seconds remaining. However, the Jazz responded with an 8-0 run before Noel scored the Sixers' next basket with 3:21 remaining.
That pulled the Sixers within 86-84. However, Trey Burke responded with a three-pointer 21 seconds later to put the Jazz up five points.
After Noel hit a pair of foul shots, Smith knotted the score at 89 on a three-pointer with 1:22 to play. After a timeout, Smith fed Noel for an alley-oop to give the Sixers a 91-89 lead with 38.3 ticks left.
After a Jazz timeout, Hayward was left wide open. The Jazz small forward buried a three-pointer with 33.5 seconds left to put the Jazz up, 92-91. The Sixers had a chance to take the lead, but Nik Stauskas missed a 15-footer with 21.5 seconds left.