76ers fail to capitalize on a career-night from Ben Simmons in loss to Jazz

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The 76ers went into this matchup against the Jazz ready to see how their best lineup stacks up against the number 1 team in the NBA (23-5). However, just moments before tipoff it was announced that Joel Embiid would be out with back tightness.

This was especially uniques as Doc Rivers showed little concern about Embiid’s availability during his pregame media access.

1st Half

From the opening tip, there was a glimpse into what a Simmons-run team may look like. Ben Simmons played like the superstar he is capable of being scoring the first 8 points for the Sixers and helping them out to an early lead.

Simmons looked aggressive, the team played with pace, and the Sixers played some of the more aesthetically pleasing basketball that has been seen all year.

Tobias Harris also got off to a hot start and followed Simmons’ 8 points with 7 of the 76ers next 12 points. Both players made their respective all-star cases and the Sixers ended the first quarter leading 42-35.

The tides of the game began to turn as the second unit came into play. The Sixers’ bench proved to have no answer for Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic as the duo combined for 26 first-half points.

The sole bright spot in the bench unit was Dwight Howard who had 7 points and 3 rebounds along with two fouls in just seven minutes of play. Tyrese Maxey also showed his burst in the paint and once again put an emphasis on his floater to add 6 first-half points.

Ben Simmons led all scorers in the first half with 21 points along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds looking fantastic despite the 3 sloppy turnovers he coughed up at the end of the half

The Sixers went into the half down 72-66. The team also continued their trend of paying little mind to the three-point line as they attempted just 6 threes in 47 field-goal attempts. In contrast, the Jazz shot 24 out of their 45 field goal attempts from beyond the arc.

Second Half

The Jazz continued their red-hot tear as the second half started. This has become a trend for this team as they scored 16 straight in the 3rd quarter in their previous game against the Heat.

Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons continued to be dominant as they ended up with 78 of The Sixers 123 points in this one.

However, the story of the game became Jordan Clarkson who became red-hot for the Jazz. The 6th man of the year candidate ended with 40 points shooting 8 of 13 from deep.

The Jazz proved to have too much shooting and the Sixers were unable to climb back into it and the game ended as a 134-123 Jazz victory.

Final Thoughts on the 76ers loss

The deciding factors in this game boiled down to 3-point shooting and bench scoring.

The Jazz made 18 of their 45 three-point attempts and were actively looking from shots from beyond the arc all night. In contrast, the Sixers connected on just 8 three-pointers out of the 23 attempts the team hoisted up.

This played into the concerning trend that the 76ers have shown in recent games and has forced perimeter scoring to rise up their deadline shopping list.

Surprisingly enough, Dwight Howard was 3rd on the team in scoring tonight with 14 points. Despite the career games out Ben Simmons (42 points) and Tobias Harris (36 points), they had little help from the supporting cast.

In total, The Sixers bench scored just 25 total bench points compared to the 57 that the Jazz bench was able to add. Shake Milton remained out with an ankle injury and his scoring pop was greatly missed once again.

Up next for the 76ers

The Sixers concluded their West-coast trip after dropping three straight to the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and finally tonight against the Jazz.

The team will head back home for a two-game stretch with their next matchup against the Rockets on Wednesday. The Bulls will come into town for the next game on Friday before the Sixers hit the road once again.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire