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NBA

Utah Jazz flex defensive muscles to hand Philadelphia 76ers their second-straight loss

The Utah Jazz move to 5-3 on the season with a hard-fought 106-104 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, snapping a four-game losing streak against the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

The Jazz starters combined for 78 points in the win, putting together their most complete performance of the season. Meanwhile, the 76ers have now lost two games in a row.

Here are the key takeaways from today's game

Teamwork makes the dream work

Five Jazz players scored in double figures on the night, putting forth a performance that resembled what everyone expected the Jazz to look like after their busy off-season makeover.

Donovan Mitchell took centre stage with 24 points and eight assists, showing his aggressiveness from the jump with 10 points in the first quarter.

Then it was Joe Ingles' turn, closing the first quarter and opening the second with a pair of three-pointers on his way to 16 points off the bench. Rudy Gobert was at his defensive best with 14 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block.

Mike Conley Jr. scored 15 points, including a five-point run in the fourth quarter, to stretch the Jazz lead to 10 points with 5:59 remaining. Then it was Bojan Bogdanovic's turn, knocking down the clutch three-pointer with 1:39 remaining to put the Jazz up 106-101.

He finished with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists on the night.

The Jazz's ability to find scoring options all over the floor, coupled with their unselfish attitude is going to give teams headaches as the season goes on and they hit their stride.

Jazz turn up the heat on defence

The Jazz have the second-best defence in the NBA and looked every bit the defensive juggernaut they promised to be, holding the 76ers to 41.3 percent shooting from the field.

With Gobert manning the middle, the Jazz outrebounded the 76ers 50-42, including 14-7 on the offensive glass, nullifying the 76ers jumbo frontcourt of Joel Embiid and Al Horford.

Embiid finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks on the night, with the bulk of his points coming at the free-throw line (16-of-18) as he struggled to get into a rhythm shooting the ball, going 5-of-16 from the field and 1-of-6 from three.

Meanwhile, Horford, who was coming off a monster game against the Phoenix Suns was held to just seven points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.

After leading by just two points at the half, the Jazz clamped down on defence in the third, opening the quarter on a 20-9 run. They held the 76ers to just 17 points in the period, but more importantly, held Embiid scoreless in the quarter, all the way through till the 4:35 mark of the fourth quarter.

Ben Simmons' injury

The 76ers will be sweating on the health of Ben Simmons, who exited the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.

He was initially hurt in the first quarter and went to the locker room after making contact with Royce O'Neale. He returned to the game in the second quarter, before being ruled out for the night and according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Aussie suffered a minor AC joint sprain.

Without Simmons directing traffic, the 76ers take on a very different look offensively, with Raul Neto likely to absorb those minutes at point guard. He was effective in his 30 minutes against the Jazz, recording 11 points, three assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Simmons will be re-evaluated on Friday (AEDT) as the team travels to Denver to take on the Nuggets.

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