By Mary Cunningham
The Sixers opened their home schedule last night at the Wells and promptly laid an egg:
Derrick Favors had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Rodney Hood scored 17 points to lead the Jazz to a 99-71 victory.
And Sixers coach Brett Brown was philosophical.
”Hopefully we get healthy and moving forward,” Brown said. ”That’s what we did last year and, to a point, the first year.”
Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft, missed his first six shots and had eight points. Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 pick this year out of Duke, followed his 26-point debut against Boston with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting (above).
Even on opening night, fans weary of even more bad hoops booed the Sixers off the court following one more miserable defeat.
”Maybe it’s going to take a little bit of time,” Nik Stauskas said. ”Maybe we need to work on a few more things. But we’re relatively young and inexperienced at this point.”
With Alec Burks adding 15 points off the bench, the Jazz used 13-0 runs in each of the first three quarters to build a 32-point lead and put away the hapless Sixers.
Utah scored 13 straight points to open the second half and held Philadelphia without a basket in the third quarter for nearly 7 minutes to rebound from an opening-night loss.
”I know a lot of people were expecting more out of me in the preseason,” Favors said. ”But I used preseason to get myself in shape and work on things I worked on during the summer. When the season rolled around, I got focused.”
Jerami Grant and Stauskas had 12 points each for the Sixers.
Utah did enough to top the Sixers but needs more production than it got Friday to win more games in the Western Conference. Favors and Hood combined to make 10 of 27 shots through three quarters. The Jazz only shot 39 percent through three quarters. Their penalty for poor shooting? Just a 74-53 lead.
”Our offense comes and goes,” Favors said. ”But we always control defense.”
The Sixers led 12-11 in their home opener, then Utah used its first 13-0 run to quiet Sixers fans.
”It’s important, especially for a young team trying to find confidence,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said.