The Philadelphia 76ers used a strong first-half performance to set up a 103-94 win over the Utah Jazz to remain unbeaten at home this season (10-0).
Philly had four starters score in double figures, led by 26 points from Tobias Harris as they secured their eighth win from their past nine games to move to 15-6 on the season.
Here are the key takeaways from today's game
Jazz comeback falls short
Philly raced out of the gates in the first half, thanks to some red-hot shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 three-pointers as they built a 60-42 advantage at the half.
The Jazz, on the second night of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights, struggled on the defensive end to as the 76ers whipped the ball around the perimeter, getting open looks from deep with Horford (3), James Ennis III (2) and Matisse Thybulle (2) making them pay.
They trailed by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter before making their run as the 76ers offence went cold in the final frame, scoring just four points over a four-and-a-half minute stretch to let the Jazz get to within 10 points, but the 76ers held strong.
Rudy Gobert led the way for the Jazz with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Donovan Mitchell was the only other Jazz starter to score in double figures with 18.
With the likes of Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O'Neale and co unable to generate much offence, the 76ers early barrage of threes proved too much to overcome, while the Jazz managed just 5-of-22 from deep
Horford starts hot, Harris closes it out
After struggling mightily in their last game against the Jazz, Horford was feeling it from the jump, setting the tone in the first quarter with a strong offensive display.
The big man led the way with 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field, causing the Jazz defence plenty of problems inside and out as he knocked down threes and was active scoring at the rim and competing on the offensive glass.
.@sixers @Al_Horford has 12 points (5-5 FG, 2-2 3FG) in his first nine minutes.- Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) December 3, 2019
The 12 points are the most scored by a 76er in a first quarter this season.
While Horford got things started, Tobias Harris finished the job, scoring 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-8 shooting, inlcuding some timely buckets down the stretch to hold off the fast-finishing Jazz.
"I felt like Tobias was able to generate his own looks, either through an isolation or if you hold it a little bit, that equals 'come get me, give me a pick-and-roll' and we did," coach Brett Brown said post-game.
"I thought he made some timely baskets in a funny part of the game. We needed some buckets to truly close this game out."
After a slow start to the season, Harris has found his groove of late, averaging 20.6 points on 51.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three over their past nine games.
In games where Joel Embiid is struggling to get going on offence (16 points on 5-of-13 shooting), Harris has to be the man to step up like he did today.
Simmons and Thybulle are a defensive nightmare
The 76ers' two-headed defensive monster on the perimeter of Ben Simmons and rookie Matisse Thybulle was at it again, combining for seven of the 76ers' 12 steals on the night.
Thybulle was disruptive when matched up with Mitchell, staying in front and contesting shots as the Jazz star went 6-of-19 from the field on the night.
Just look at how they hounded Conley and Mitchell in the Jazz backcourt in the second quarter, to create an alley-oop out of nothing:
Warning.- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 3, 2019
Viewer discretion is advised.@MatisseThybulle x @BenSimmons25 pic.twitter.com/EfYsgEG6mL
Philly forced 20 Jazz turnovers which they turned into 19 points, creating plenty of easy scoring opportunities in transition.
Thybulle is making coach Brown's decision to give him more playing time easy, as he continues to knock down threes, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc against the Jazz. Since starting the season 5-of-21 from deep, the rookie is 11-of-16 from three over the past 12 games.
Simmons finished with a familiar stat line of 14 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals, but his impact on the game went way beyond the box score. In the 34 minutes he was on the floor, Philly outscored Utah 86-67 and shot 49 percent from the field, including 11-of-19 from three, with all 17 of their fast-break points coming with the Aussie on the floor.
In the 14 minutes he was off the floor, the 76ers' offence ground to a halt as they went 5-of-25 from the field and struggled to generate easy looks at the basket. He finished a team-high +19 on the night.
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