By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
After Wednesday ’s horrendous loss to the previously winless Detroit Pistons, the Philadelphia 76ers were determined to get back out on the floor against the Utah Jazz to get their groove back from a two-game losing streak.
The Sixers attacked Utah early and held off just about every charge the Jazz made at them in a 99-93 win in front of 15, 851 fans at the Wells Fargo Center.
“It was huge and it showed that we’re going to continue to go out there and fight until the end and we did a good job at holding our composure and going out there to get a win,” said shooting guard Jason Richardson.
Perhaps the key moment in a game for a Sixers team looking to get their swagger back was when the game was tied at 71-71 with 10:20 left in the game after a 7-0 scoring spurt by the Jazz open the fourth quarter. The Sixers outscored Utah 13-2 and kept them coming any closer than four points the rest of the way.
“You let that game slip away from you and stuff, it’s got a lot of repercussions,” Collins said. “Not only was it a game, it was a confidence builder. We still got a lot of new guys. I looked out on that floor at the end of that game, Richardson was out there, (Nick Young), we had guys never played with at that point in time (fourth quarter) in the season in a game that was on the line.”
Point guard Jrue Holiday had a stellar performance for the Sixers leading way with 26 points and seven assists. He said it was important for him to come out and shoot the ball well to get his teammates going. He scored 10 of his team’s of 30 points in the first quarter.
“I think had to come out aggressive, especially offensively,” Holiday. “We haven’t been scoring that well and picking up on defense. We were trying to get stops and get out on transition and did help early.”
Holiday said he liked the way his team didn’t wilt under the pressure of several Utah scoring spurts to get back in the game. After a week of tough losses, it was certainly a shot in the arm when they needed it.
“We had such a good lead that once they made their runs, they had to do a lot to get back even,” Holiday said. “Once they had their push, we pushed back.”
Before the game, Collins said the Sixers had to win the battle of the paint in both points and rebounding against a bigger athletic Utah squad. The 76ers scored the Jazz 42-38 in the paint, they outrebounded them (43-40) and they won the battle in second chance points (23-6).
Out of all the players who contributed to the Sixers both Lavoy Allen, who scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and veteran center Kwame Brown, who scored just two points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
Collins said he was especially pleased with Brown’s defensive presence in the middle, especially down the stretch when the Jazz were trying to get back in the game.
“That’s why we got him,” Collins said. “I don’t care if he scores a basket. Kwame’s physical presence and what meant to us tonight. We don’t win this game without him tonight. There’s no way because we had to have two big strong guys (Allen) play a lot of minutes.”