The Philadelphia 76ers remembered how not to lose by 40+ points on Feb. 12 to the Utah Jazz. Of course, since the Sixers were playing the lowly Jazz and not the contending Los Angeles Clippers or Golden State Warriors, it was easier not to get blown out. Still, winning remained too tall of an order, as the Sixers went down by 105-100 instead of by 45 or 43 points.
The night started ominously when the Jazz took a nine-point lead after one quarter, racking up 31 points along the way. However, the Sixers weren't down by 31 points after one period, like they were against the Clippers. While the Sixers waited until the second quarter to fall apart against the Warriors, they actually outscored the Jazz by one in the second to reach their closest halftime deficit in days.
Philadelphia got even closer in the second half, to the point where it tied Utah at 91-91 with minutes to go. Yet that was when the Jazz's Alec Burks took over, scoring 10 of his team's final 14 points to cap off a 26-point night. A personal 9-0 run from Burks broke the tie and buried the Sixers, although it was far from the greatest flurry they have suffered on their road trip.
This flurry actually cost Philadelphia a game it could have won, which is a slight change of pace. But whether the Sixers lose by over 40 points or just five, the result is still the same in the win-loss column. All losses are equal, and the Sixers are going into the All-Star break having lost eight games in a row.
Philadelphia actually began the first half with three wins in a row, which temporarily stopped talk of tanking the season for a high draft pick. Yet even when everyone expected the Sixers to lose 60-70 games, they didn't project back-to-back brutal results like the ones in Los Angeles and Golden State. It took a while, but this team finally managed to live down to its low expectations.
Losing by less than historical margins now qualifies as this team's biggest win in weeks -- regardless of how it came against the 19-33 Jazz. As such, the All-Star break and the end of this road trip almost qualifies as an undeserved act of mercy for these Sixers.