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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Scrapping together enough offensive energy was no simple task for the Utah Jazz in their first post-Christmas game.
Everything changed in the fourth quarter, when Utah finally found a rhythm and pulled away for an 88-71 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
"Once it came down to the fourth quarter, everybody just wanted to get the game over with," Jazz center Derrick Favors said. "We picked up the energy and picked (up) the intensity. Got enough stops on defense to help the offensive end. Everybody took their time. Everybody touched the ball and made shots."
Favors had 17 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Utah.
With his team clinging to a three-point lead, Favors converted a three-point play and drove for a dunk on back-to-back possessions. It pushed the Jazz lead to 74-66 with 4:52 remaining. Those two baskets touched off an 18-3 run to seal the win.
Trey Burke added 17 points, Gordon Hayward chipped in 15 and Enes Kanter finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz (10-20), who won for the fourth time in their last five games.
Tony Wroten scored 20 points and Robert Covington added 17 for the Sixers (4-25), who could not overcome a sluggish offensive performance before halftime.
The Jazz outscored Philadelphia 52-30 in the paint and finished with a 20-7 advantage in second-chance points.
The Jazz limited the Sixers to just 12-of-40 shooting (30 percent) from the field before halftime. Michael Carter-Williams particularly struggled, shooting just 1 of 13 in the first two quarters. He finished the game 2 of 20.
"It's tough," Carter-Williams said. "I just need to bounce back from it. I can't dwell on it. It's going to definitely push me to get better — I won't forget moments like this."
Favors helped Utah get off to a quick start. He blocked three shots in the first 5 minutes and added three baskets, culminating in a dunk that gave the Jazz a 12-5 lead. Utah pushed its advantage to 23-10 late in the first quarter when Hayward made a pair of baskets and a pair of free throws on three straight possessions.
After taking a 44-32 halftime lead, the Jazz let it slip away during a sluggish third quarter start. Utah missed 11 straight shots to open the period. The Sixers wasted no time taking advantage of the prolonged drought - opening the half with a 15-2 spurt.
Covington fueled the run with a pair of 3-pointers and then Wroten tied the game with a driving layup. The Sixers finally took a 47-46 lead on a free throw from Jerami Grant with 6:21 left in the quarter.
"We were down 14 and we found a way to compete and claw our way back on the road," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "We just couldn't sustain it, and it's just a really true learning lesson that guys have to understand - especially on this side of the world in the Western Conference."
Utah trailed only briefly. The Jazz scored six unanswered points to go back in front 53-47.
Philadelphia cut it to 60-59 on a basket from JaKarr Sampson early in the fourth quarter. The Jazz kept the Sixers at arm's length. Burke converted a 3-point play just a minute later to keep Utah from falling behind.
"I wouldn't call it sloppiness," Burke said. "I just felt like we didn't hit shots. I didn't think we were sloppy. I just felt like we had a lot of good looks that we didn't make, but our defense made up for it."
Jazz: The Jazz outscored the Sixers 17-3 in second-chance points in the first half. ... Favors notched his ninth double-double of the season and matched season highs in rebounds and blocked shots. .. The Jazz set a season high with 10 blocked shots.
76ers: The Sixers just scored 12 points in the first quarter and 32 before halftime. Both totals represented a season-low for a Jazz opponent. .. Philadelphia is 3-3 this season when holding an opponent below 90 points.
76ers: Visit Golden State on Tuesday.
Jazz: Visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
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