JORDAN Clarkson helped the Utah Jazz overcome big nights by Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris while leading the NBA’s hottest team to a 134-123 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Salt Lake City on Monday night.
Clarkson came off the bench to score a team-high 40 points, two shy of his career-high and the most with the Jazz, to lift Utah to its eighth straight win and the 19th victory in 20 games in a matchup of the teams with the best records in the West and East.
Playing without Joel Embiid, a late scratch because of back tightness, the Sixers managed to make a competitive contest thanks to a near-triple-double effort by Simmons (42 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds) along with 36 points and 10 rebounds from Harris.
Harris scored five points in a row late in the fourth to cut the Jazz lead, once as big as 16 points, down to 113-109. But Donovan Mitchell made a driving score and then Clarkson hit three free throws and drained a 3-pointer during an 8-2 run for Utah.
Royce O’Neale helped seal the win for the Jazz with three 3-pointers in the final minutes.
Mitchell finished with 24 points and five assists, while Joe Ingles added 20 points and five assists. Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic, and O’Neale each chipped in with 11 points.
Clarkson ended with eight of the Jazz’s 18 3-pointers.
Dwight Howard (14 points) and Seth Curry (11 points) were the only other Sixers in double figures.
Philadelphia has dropped three straight to end their four-game Western road trip.
Simmons, who went 15-for-26 from the field and 12 of 13 at the foul line, scored 19 points in the first quarter as the visitors exploded to a 42-35 lead.
The Jazz fired back in the second quarter, with Clarkson heating up, and used a 37-24 edge to take a 72-66 lead into the break.
Utah maintained the momentum in the second half to take a 110-94 lead after two free throws by Clarkson. — Reuters