The Utah Jazz will take a much deserved week off for the All-Star break after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 105-100 on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, marking their first three game win streak of the entire 2014 season. After shocking the Miami Heat last Saturday in Salt Lake City, the Jazz took a trip to Los Angeles and handed the struggling Lakers their fifth straight home loss in the Staples Center 96-79. Then it was a quick flight back home to Energy Solutions Arena to host Philadelphia on the tail end of a back to back.
The 76ers were in the middle of a 2 for 15 stretch and had lost their previous two road games to the Warriors and Clippers by a combined 88 points, they weren’t going to let that number grow to three. After a mostly back and forth first half, the Jazz led the 76ers by eight at the break. The 76ers made several runs in second half, eventually knotting the game at 91 late in the fourth quarter. Jazz swingman Alec Burks came to the rescue, scoring nine unanswered points in the final two minutes and finishing with a game high 26 points to lead the Jazz to victory.
The game featured two of the top point guards from the 2013 NBA draft in Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams. The 6-foot-6 Carter Williams took advantage of the smaller 6-foot-1 Burke and dominated the matchup offensively in the first half. However, it was Burke that had the last laugh, helping his team by hitting a clutch jump shot to stop a 76ers run with under three minutes to play before the leading scorer Alec Burks ended the 76ers hopes of road victory.
The Jazz bench had another big night, scoring 56 of the 105 Jazz points and giving a boost to starters Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson, who did the majority of the scoring for the starting five. Alec Burks continues to impress with his scoring abilities. Enes Kanter, who scored 12 points, nabbed seven rebounds and even handed out two assists, is proving to be a more than capable backup to Derrick Favors. Then there’s Jeremy Evans, with 10 points, four rebounds, a steal and an assist, proving that he can do more than just be an alley-oop target.
Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams will both be taking part in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge this weekend in New Orleans. Burke will be the only Jazz-man participating in All-Star weekend festivities while the rest of the team takes the week off to rest and recover; including Jazz big man Derrick Favors who played only six minutes against Philadelphia before leaving the game with a right hip strain. It is uncertain whether he will be ready to go when the Jazz resume play against the Brooklyn Nets on February 19th.
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