Sixers falter against Jazz and lose, 102-99

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Point guard Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 22 points in Friday night's loss to the Jazz in Utah. (Jim Urquhart/AP)

SALT LAKE CITY - Energy Solutions Arena, like so many other homes of NBA teams, has gone through a number of name changes over the years.

But the one constant for the 76ers is that horrendous things happen here, and Friday night was no exception. The Sixers blew a 13-point first-half lead and fell to the Utah Jazz, 102-99, in front of a sellout crowd of 19,111.

The Sixers have lost 10 of their last 11 and 21 of their last 23 games here. For Utah, the win was the first of the season after two losses.

This game was full of the agonizing moments that have characterized the Sixers' trips here. There were shots at point-blank range that didn't fall, missed free throws that might have forced overtime, and even a late scratch for Utah that turned out to benefit the Jazz.

After outplaying the Jazz for the better part of the night, the Sixers (1-2) let multiple opportunities slip out of their hands. They were down by 95-94 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining when Andre Iguodala (16 points, six rebounds, four assists) missed a pair of free throws. With 45.3 seconds to play and the Utah lead at 99-96, Elton Brand (12 points, seven rebounds) missed the second of two free throws.

"You just have to keep getting there, and hopefully you make them," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "You've just got to knock them in. At the end of the day, we had every chance to win that game and we missed three free throws and missed a layup and missed a tip-in. In a place like this, it makes it tough to win games."

Collins was referring to Lou Williams' missed layup with 5.9 seconds left and the Sixers trailing by 101-99. Center Spencer Hawes missed a potential game-tying tip-in.

And after Utah's Devin Harris (19 points) made just one of two free throws, Williams - whose 20 points were second on the team to Jrue Holiday's 22 - had one last look at a three-pointer but was unable to convert as time expired.

"We had our opportunities at the end; we just didn't convert," Williams said. "I didn't get the bounce, Spence didn't get the tip. It happens."

Said Hawes of the missed tip: "Of course, I thought it was going. Of course. But sitting here fretting about it is not going to make it any different. It happens. It won't happen again.

Hawes finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Five Sixers finished in double-figure scoring. They shot the ball better than the Jazz (48 percent to 44.3 percent), were outrebounded by the slimmest of margins (41 to 40), and they committed 13 turnovers, one more than the Jazz.

But the Jazz, who went into the game averaging just 85 ppg., scored 31 points in the second and fourth quarters.

They also got 20 points, 11 rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots out of Derrick Favors. The third overall pick in the 2010 draft, Favors got the start in place of center Al Jefferson, who missed the game with an inflamed right ankle.

"He gave us a huge lift," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We know he can score some points for us, but he had some huge rebounds, and the effort he had on defense was huge. Even that last shot by Lou Williams, he came across and made him shoot a little higher.


Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com or @deepsixer3 on Twitter.