The Utah Jazz survived a career-high scoring night from Ben Simmons to beat the 76ers, 134-123, for their eighth consecutive win.

High Notes

  • I was completely prepared to write about how the Jazz didn’t play their best game but still came away with the win, but in the second half, and in particular the fourth quarter, the Jazz proved that they were the better team on the court and turned it on to put things away with a punctuation mark. That’s the biggest difference with this season’s team — that switch, and ability to push back hard.
  • The Jazz would have had much less of a chance if it hadn’t been for Jordan Clarkson, who finished the game with a season-high 40 points, just two points shy of his career-high of 42. Obviously he was a huge part of why the Jazz were able to win this game, but it was how he did it that was most entertaining. Clarkson just straight up doesn’t care if he has a defender two inches away from him. He will take a contested shot any day, at any time, with all the confidence in the world. That’s how you end up getting fouled on 3-point attempts and getting to the line twice in one night because of said attempts. By the way, Clarkson is a bench player.

“He’s not bashful and we don’t want him to be.” —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

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  • Royce O’Neale is a perfect example of why shooters just need to keep shooting. As KSLSports’ Ben Anderson pointed out on Twitter, O’Neale was 0-of-10 from 3-point range over the last three games including the first three quarters of Monday’s game. Then he went off in the fourth. In the final 12 minutes he was 3-of-5 from deep and they were timely big buckets. Oh, and his defense was incredible.

“He’s relentless with his competitiveness...I think he’s so crucial to our team. And what he is able to do late in the game, you know we talk about Jordan and, obviously what Jordan did tonight was special, but Royce, having the confidence to keep shooting the ball and make those two big 3s late, that was tremendous.” —Snyder

  • Simmons scored a career-high 42 points to go with 12 assists, nine rebounds, one steal and one block. He had 19 points in the first quarter alone. He saw that the Jazz were giving him more space than they should have and without Joel Embiid playing (back tightness) he knew he had to take on a lot more for the Sixers offense. I know that Jazz fans do not like Simmons and that’s fine, but you can’t deny that he was dominant on Monday.
  • Joe Ingles pass-fake is so reliable and flawless.
  • I really enjoyed watching the defensive back-and-forth of O’Neale and Matisse Thybulle. One moment that I really liked was seeing O’Neale clearly understand Thybulle’s ability. He knows a good defensive player not just because that’s what Thybulle does but because, game recognize game. Early in the fourth quarter after a defensive rebound O’Neale was going to pass it across to Ingles to bring the ball up the court but saw Thybulle watching the passing lane and brought the ball up himself. Very small moment but very smart moment because Thybulle would have sprinted in for that steal.

Low Notes

  • Not a great game from Derrick Favors who was beasted by Dwight Howard a couple times and missed a lot of put-back defense.
  • Especially in the first half the Jazz’s rebounding was not good and when the Sixers were getting offensive rebounds the Jazz were incredibly out of position.

Flat Notes

  • Howard got called for a goal tending violation that was horribly obvious and just really made me laugh.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic had an off-shooting night going 0-of-6 from 3-point range. As stated above, that’s not anything to be worried about and shooters need to keep shooting, but it was a little hard to watch him struggle on Monday because he recognized very early that he was off, for whatever reason. As early as the first quarter he was shooting dead ball 3s, just to try to get going and see the ball go through the hoop. At one point Danny Green wrapped him up when he was shooting after a whistle because players know that tactic can work. That’s why you see guys blocking the rim and grabbing shots out of the air after whistles. They don’t want someone gaining confidence when the clock isn’t running.