SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Playing without leading scorer Lauri Markkanen, when the Utah Jazz went down by 20 points to the Philadelphia 76ers early, it appeared all hope was lost.
But Jordan Clarkson led a valient comeback effort with 38 points, as the Jazz rallied all the way back to take the lead with 13 seconds left on a runner in the lane by Clarkson.
But the raucous crowd was silenced when Joel Embiid made a jumper with 5.7 seconds 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.
“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.
James Harden had 31 points and 11 assists to lead Philadelphia. Embiid chipped in 30 points and seven rebounds. Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points and Shake Milton added 17.
Clarkson grabbed nine rebounds to go along with his 38 points 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.
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.
“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.”
Markkanen was sidelined with a left hip contusion and the Jazz struggled early to fill the void that their leading scorer left in their offense.
The 76ers surged far ahead during the first quarter behind their own potent offensive attack. Philadelphia shot 65% from the field over the first 12 minutes after making 14 of their 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.
Utah shot just 37.5% from the field and trailed by as many as 20 points during the first quarter.
The Jazz rallied and drew within a point in the third quarter, cutting Philadelphia’s lead to 81-80, after Clarkson and Conley scored back-to-back baskets to spark a 14-3 run.
The Jazz next play at Minnesota Monday afternoon.