The surging Philadelphia 76ers will look for their fourth consecutive victory when they host the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
The Sixers won 98-96 on the road Friday against the Atlanta Hawks and followed with consecutive road wins over the Charlotte Hornets. After a 127-124 overtime decision Monday, the Sixers came back with a hard-fought 110-106 victory Wednesday.
The challenge now will be maintaining the positive momentum in the second leg of a back-to-back against the ultra-talented Jazz.
“We grinded it out,” 76ers guard Seth Curry said in a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It feels like we’ve been on the road for two months. We took care of business, grinded out some road wins and now we come on home.”
Philadelphia center Joel Embiid led the way with 32 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Curry added 23 points. Tobias Harris contributed 18 points.
The winning streak has coincided with the 76ers getting healthy. Aside from Ben Simmons, who has yet to play this season due to personal reasons, the Sixers have been besieged with injuries and COVID-19 issues.
Embiid spent three weeks sidelined with COVID and he has slowly regained his All-Star form. He was especially dominant in the two wins at Charlotte, scoring a combined 75 points.
“It’s coming,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “You know Joel and Tobias are still dealing with the effects of COVID and now getting out of that. Tyrese (Maxey) is getting over the flu. But I will say this the first time we haven’t had other injuries. No hip (injuries) or anything like that.
“Everybody in the league is banged up. That’s just the NBA. But hopefully in the next week or so, we can have a healthy team.”
The Jazz, following a disappointing 98-97 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 26, have responded with five straight wins.
Utah soundly defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 136-104 on Wednesday in Minneapolis behind 36 points from Donovan Mitchell and 21 from Bojan Bogdanovic.
Mitchell, who has been effective all season even with the opponents keying on him, is on a four-game run of 30-plus-point performances.
“I gotta give Coach (Quin Snyder) credit. We’ve been through every situation,” Mitchell said. “We’ve seen everything eight times in practice.”
Jazz point guard Mike Conley also is playing well, although he was limited to 10 points and five assists by the Timberwolves. The 34-year-old veteran has steadily improved his shooting, as he is hitting 50.9 percent from the floor, which would be a career high, and is leading the league with a 47.6 percent success rate from 3-point range.
“As the game started to transition to more outside shooting and more 3-point opportunities, I just, summer after summer, I started thinking, ‘Hey, I gotta adapt or die in this league,'” Conley said. “So I really worked on it very hard, and I’m on a team that creates a lot of space and opportunities for us, and I get a lot of good looks. I’ve developed it enough to where I feel like I can knock it down.”
The Jazz placed six players in double figures against Minnesota and sank 56.8 percent of their field-goal attempts.
–Field Level Media