Joel Embiid made a jumper with 5.7 seconds left to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a 118-117 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
“I made a tough shot but it shouldn’t have come to that after we were up by so much,” said Embiid, who finished 30 points and seven rebounds.
James Harden had 31 points and 11 assists to lead Philadelphia. Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points and Shake Milton added 17.
The fourth quarter belonged to Harden, who had 18 points and made six baskets during that stretch. He accounted for 16 straight points for the 76ers over 3½ minutes to keep the Jazz from going ahead until late in the fourth quarter.
“I saw opportunities,” Harden said. “Fourth quarter, they made some shots. There was an opportunity to take advantage of it and I did.”
Jordan Clarkson had 38 points and nine rebounds for Utah. Talen Horton-Tucker chipped in a season-high 20 points off the bench. Mike Conley added 14 points and eight assists, while Walker Kessler finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Clarkson scored 17 in the fourth, helping fuel a late rally.
“We ain’t scared of the moment, I can tell you that,” Clarkson said. “We have been in close games the whole year. We fight, we scrap.”
After trailing by double digits for much of the game, Utah took its first lead at 115-114 on Kessler’s tip-in basket with 33 seconds left.
Harden and Clarkson subsequently traded go-ahead buckets before Embiid’s jumper put Philadelphia ahead for good. Clarkson missed a 3-pointer on Utah’s final possession.
“I think our team showed a lot of fight again, as we always do, executed some things really, really well as the game went on,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said.
Lauri Markkanen was sidelined with a left hip contusion and the Jazz struggled early to fill the void left without their leading scorer.
Philadelphia shot 65% from the field over the first 12 minutes after making 14 of its first 19 shots and scored a season-high 41 points in the first quarter.
Clarkson cut the deficit to two on a jumper before the 76ers answered with a 13-2 run to break open the game. Maxey scored three straight baskets, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to punctuate the spurt that gave Philadelphia a 22-9 lead midway through the first quarter.
“I swear the first six minutes, everything we did (worked),” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “Guys were in the right spot. The cuts were right. The passes were right.”
Utah shot just 37.5% from the field and trailed by as many as 20 points during the first quarter.
The Jazz rallied in the third and cut Philadelphia’s lead to 81-80, after Clarkson and Conley made back-to-back baskets to spark a 14-3 run.
Blast from the past
The Delta Center is returning.
Delta Air Lines re-purchased naming rights for the Utah Jazz home arena and it will be renamed the Delta Center starting on July 1, 2023. Vivint previously held naming rights as part of a 10-year deal signed in October 2015 until opting out of the contract, opening the door for Delta to become the rare company to resume its naming rights role.
Putting the Delta name back on the arena comes as part of a new multi-year partnership that includes numerous other sponsorship and branding rights with the team.
“We’re already getting a lot of attention from the league, and around sports, for how the growth of Utah is catching up with the brands that are coming in,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said. “It’s not a small market in terms of that. … We’ve outgrown the narrative.”
The arena previously carried the Delta Center moniker for 15 years from when it opened in October 1991 until Delta decided to not renew its naming rights deal after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005.
76ers: Tobias Harris (left knee soreness) was inactive. … De’Anthony Melton tied his season high with two blocks.
Jazz: Horton-Tucker beat the first quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer from halfcourt. … Utah outscored Philadelphia 19-6 in second chance points and 20-10 in fast-break points.
76ers: Visit the Lakers on Sunday.