76ers down the Jazz

Paul Millsap of the Jazz and the Sixers' Elton Brand chase a loose ball during the first half.Brand scored 19 points, and the 76ers improved their home record to 13-7.
Paul Millsap of the Jazz and the Sixers' Elton Brand chase a loose ball during the first half.Brand scored 19 points, and the 76ers improved their home record to 13-7.
Posted: January 23, 2011

Life on the road in the NBA can be a true downer, as the 76ers found out earlier this week and the Utah Jazz continued to realize this weekend.

The Sixers exceeded last year's home win total with Saturday's 96-85 win over the Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center.

While it's not raising the bar very high by comparing the Sixers to last season's inconsistent and frequently lifeless unit, the Sixers improved to 18-25 overall and 13-7 at the Wells Fargo Center. Last year they were 12-29 at home.

"It's a great thing to top last year's mark with a lot of home games left," said forward Elton Brand, who had 19 points and eight rebounds. "Our fans have given us a lot of support and it's a good feeling."

Andre Iguodala had a team-high 22 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter.

"I saw a lot of openings in the first three quarters and took advantage of it in the fourth quarter," Iguodala said.

Lou Williams added 20 points, despite shooting 5 for 15 from the field.

Sixers center Spencer Hawes, who has not been very productive since missing his only game of the season on Jan. 3 with a back strain, recorded 11 rebounds to go along with eight points. It was his first double-figure rebounding effort since grabbing 11 in a win at Phoenix on Dec. 29.

Utah, meanwhile has been a solid group away from home, just not recently. This was the fourth game of their current road trip, and all have ended in defeat.

The four-game losing streak for Utah (27-17) is the Jazz's longest of the season. The Jazz end this five-game road trip Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

The Sixers are coming off consecutive road defeats - 99-98 in overtime at Orlando, and 100-97 in Charlotte.

Leading by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, the Sixers had a 47-41 advantage at halftime.

Being down double digits hasn't fazed the Jazz too much. They have won seven games this season after trailing by 15 or more points.

This time there was no similar magic.

The Sixers, who were burned by two four-point plays in Wednesday's loss in Orlando, benefited from a five-point play that gave them a final cushion.

With the Sixers leading, 78-71, Iguodala sank a three-pointer and was fouled by former Sixer Raja Bell.

Iguodala missed the free throw, but Brand tapped in the miss to extend the lead to 83-71 with 6 minutes, 25 seconds remaining.

Utah point guard Deron Williams wasn't his dominating self, despite 14 assists. He also had five turnovers and scored 20 points but he struggled from the field, shooting 7 for 19.

Counterpart Jrue Holiday also didn't shoot well (3 for 12), but he had his hands full defending Williams. Holiday scored nine points in 34 minutes.

"I think he's tired," Sixers coach Doug Collins said about Holiday. "I don't think it is as much physical as it is mental, and you have to remember he is playing the toughest position in the NBA, going every night against the best players in the league."

This proved to be among the Sixers' best defensive games. Utah entered the contest averaging 100.5 points.

The Sixers held the Jazz to 42 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent (4 for 16) from beyond the arc.

"This was a really important win for us, especially after two tough losses on the road," Collins said. "Our guys really executed well."

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.


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