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Utah Jazz lose great opportunity to continue tanking with win at Philadelphia

In the annals of tankdom one team is always better than another in terms of being the best tanker --striving for the most ping pong balls at the upcoming NBA Draft.

Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke.
Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the race to be the worst the Utah Jazz found out Saturday, March 8 that it has a long way to go to catch up to the team it defeated, the 15-47 Philadelphia 76ers -- when it comes to tanking.

The 76ers, losers now of 16 straight have perfected the art while the Jazz -- who had lost five straight coming into this one at the Wells Fargo Center -- throttled the 76ers 104-92.

Utah had a chance to give this game away, tied at 91 -- but went on a 13-1 run to end the game, ending that fantasy.

Gordon Hayward had 22 points and eight rebounds and Derrick Favors rebounded from his own slump to throw down a double-double with 15 points and 14 boards. Even Trey Burke got into the action, scoring seven points and dishing eight assists -- still not his best, but it will do.

The Jazz also had an opportunity to give the 76ers their first win in 16 tries. But Philadelphia wouldn’t cooperate, giving Utah a chance to snap its five-game losing streak -- and provide the 76ers with the impetus to extend its schneid to a 16-game losing streak dating back to late January.

"This might sound . . . trivial or even a bit corny. I think [the Sixers] deserve it," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said in a post-game press conference. "I think they put in the time. They don't crumble. They stay together. They put in a good day's work. I like for them to be rewarded for their efforts."

The 22-41 Jazz were rewarded with a win, yes, but were also punished because the win over Philadelphia drops Utah to sixth worst in the NBA -- still better than the lowly Lakers -- which means that at this point the Jazz will get the sixth-largest amount of ping pong balls at the NBA Draft Lottery.

Utah now heads home this week for three straight. With 19 to go you have to think the Jazz squandered a great opportunity in Philadelphia to tank and strive towards getting more ping pong balls -- and possibly Jabari Parker.