by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Bill Streicher of USA Today Sports.
From One End to the Other
The first quarter felt like everyone could make anything within the perimeter. Both teams managed to score over 50 percent within, but Utah separated themselves with shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. After a 42-point performance the night before, Embiid put Philadelphia on his back throughout the night. Embiid finished the first with 13 points on 3-7 shooting. Kelly Olynyk seemed to bother Embiid to start off the game on defense only having him make 33.4 percent (2-6) in the first. Though Utah provided a lot of lightly contested drives to the basket, Utah held the lead 30-26 at the end of the first quarter.
Though Embiid started the game hot offensively, Utah continued to apply pressure and force turnovers. Embiid alone committed five of Philadelphia’s seven turnovers in the first half. Walker Kessler made his defensive presence known early racking up three blocks first half. Even with a big emphasis on defense in the first half, Utah went into the half with a 57-51 lead.
History in the Making
Embiid continued his offensive night as he continued to bring his scoring total to 33 points. The announcers called it as the quarter was coming to a close, that the crowd is in for a historical night. Along with his 33 points, Embiid also had seven rebounds and eight assists. Embiid’s game was able to be highlighted due to Utah’s lack of offensive firepower for the quarter. Utah struggled finding the bottom of the net shooting 7/24 (29.2 percent) yet perfect from the free throw line (4/4.) Philadelphia responded with 10/14 (71.4 percent) from within the perimeter. This burst of efficiency from Philadelphia brought this game to a 78-78 tie as the final quarter approached.
The fourth quarter belonged to Embiid and Philadelphia. Embiid scored 26 of the final 27 points for Philadelphia. He even brought his intensity to the defensive side of the ball as he racked up seven total blocks for the game, half of Philadelphia’s block total for the night. Utah continued to fight back, but free throws ended up being the deciding factor as Philadelphia shot 13/17 (76.5 percent) from the line. Philadelphia winning 105-99 gave Utah their first losing streak of the season before returning home. Embiid became the first player since Allen Iverson to score 55+ points in a game for Philadelphia finishing with 59 points.
The Utah Jazz (10-5) will come home for a quick two-game stand as they take on the New York Knicks (6-7) on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. MT on AT&T SportsNet.