The 76ers are 14 games into their season and they have yet to reach that elusive goal: a two-game winning streak.
Hoping to gain momentum from Tuesday's impressive 114-99 win in Milwaukee, the Sixers could not carry over the effort tonight in a 106-95 loss to the Utah Jazz at the Wachovia Center.
The Sixers are 4-10. Utah, a Western Conference playoff finalist last year, is 11-5.
This one didn't need much analysis. The Sixers simply could not stop the two-man game between Utah point guard Deron Williams and forward Carlos Boozer.
Williams, who sliced through Sixers defenders as if they were made of paper, put up a double-double with 15 points and 15 assists. Boozer scored 26 points.
Trailing by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, the Sixers twice got to within five points in the fourth. But Boozer, who scored 12 points in the final quarter, continually kept the Sixers at distance. In one sequence, he scored on three straight possessions, all on close-range shots.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 20 points, shooting 8 for 12 from the field. Andre Miller added 16 points and Lou Williams came off the bench to score 13
The biggest ovation went to the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins, the National League MVP, who was introduced to the crowd in the second quarter. The Gold Glove shortstop was presented with a Sixers jersey.
The Sixers could have used his defense.
Coach Maurice Cheeks was hoping that the Sixers would get a boost from Tuesday's victory, arguably the team's best performance of the season. But it seemed like the momentum from that win lasted little more than three minutes.
That's because the Jazz jumped out to a 13-2 lead. Utah appeared intent on demoralizing the Sixers early.
The Sixers, however got back into the game and eventually led by as many as five points in the first half.
Utah closed the first half on a 7-2 run to go up by 49-44 at intermission.
Under coach Jerry Sloan, Utah has always fielded one of the more potent two-man games around. First it was John Stockton and Karl Malone, two future Hall of Famers. Now it runs through Williams and Boozer.
Now in his third year, Williams has emerged as one of the top point guards in the NBA. The Sixers (and many other teams) have great difficulty defending the top point guards.
Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and Baron Davis have had their way against the Sixers. Even the next tier of point guards, including T.J. Ford, has been explosive against the Sixers.
Deron Williams had seven-first half assists and appeared to be able to penetrate at will.
Boozer is a true lunch-pail worker who scores off the pick-and-roll and also battles inside. In addition, he has added a medium-range jumper to his arsenal. Entering tonight, Boozer was fourth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 25.3 points.
He had 12 first-half points, shooting 6 of 7 from the field.
Iguodala kept the Sixers in the game with 13 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting.
The Jazz entered the game leading the Northwest Division with a 10-5 record, but they did not travel to Philadelphia on a high note. On Monday Utah suffered a 113-109 loss at struggling New York.
In the third-quarter Utah expanded its lead to 14 shortly after the period's midway point. Williams was running the offense efficiently.
As for the Sixers, they were hurt again by turnovers. A night after committing just 10 against Milwaukee, they already had 12 by halftime.
Kyle Korver, who shot 8 for 13 from the field against Milwaukee, made just 1 of his first 7 shots.
Utah, with a day off between games, looked fresher than the Sixers.
Late in the third quarter, the Sixers got a spark off the bench from Lou Williams and Rodney Carney, cutting the deficit to 77-68 entering the fourth quarter.
Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/deepsixer.