SALT LAKE CITY — A loss was expected.
The 76ers entered the Vivint Center coming off consecutive losses and had to face the red-hot Utah Jazz minus MVP candidate Joel Embiid. Yet Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris stepped up in Embiid’s absence, making things interesting before Utah prevailed, 134-123. Here are the best and worst awards from Monday night’s game:
Ben Simmons gets this. But it wasn’t as easy a pick as some might think. That’s because Jazz reserve Jordan Clarkson finished with a team-high 40 points, making 8 of 13 three-pointers. He had an electrifying performance. However, Simmons was the man. He scored a career-high 42 points to go with 12 assists and nine rebounds. The two-time All-Star shot 15-for-26 from the field and made 12 of 13 foul shots. His 15 made field goals were a career high.
Nineteen of the fourth-year veteran’s points came in the first quarter on 7-for-7 shooting. If there was one negative, it was Simmons’ game-high four turnovers. But he more than made up for that with the other things he did.
Furkan Korkmaz gets this ... for the second consecutive game. Just like in Saturday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Sixers reserve swingman missed all five of his shot attempts. This time, he was held scoreless for the first time this season. Korkmaz also was a game-worst minus-15.
Best defensive performance
Matisse Thybulle gets this. The reserve guard was one of the few Sixers to have success guarding Clarkson. Both of his team-high two blocks came while guarding the Jazz standout. Thybulle also tied Tobias Harris with a team-high two steals.
This goes to the Sixers’ bench scoring for the second straight game. They were outscored, 57-25, by the Jazz bench two days after being outscored, 49-20, by the Suns bench.
Worst of the worst
This goes to the Sixers’ giving up at least 30 points to an opposing guard for the fourth straight game. The Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox scored 30 points on Feb 9; on Thursday, Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers’ perennial All-Star, also had 30 points; and the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker torched the Sixers for 36 points Saturday.