Markkanen, Sexton Lead Jazz To Victory Over Embiid-Less 76ers

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Philadelphia 76ers’ dependence on Joel Embiid was highlighted again as they fell to the Utah Jazz 120-109 during Saturday’s NBA action, dropping their record to 2-6 without him. Embiid’s absence due to knee swelling left a significant void, especially on defense, allowing the Jazz to score 72 points in the paint.

Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton stepped up for the Jazz, each recording a double-double. Markkanen contributed 33 points and 13 rebounds, while Sexton added 22 points and 10 assists. This victory marked a strong recovery for Utah, who had suffered a heavy loss to Boston the previous night. Tyrese Maxey of the Sixers acknowledged the need for others to step up in Embiid’s absence.

“We have Joel, we know what Joel is going to bring to the table,” Maxey said. “Without him, we’ve got to find different ways, and different guys have to got to step up, myself included, and help us win games.”

The 76ers also missed Tobias Harris due to an ankle injury, as well as De’Anthony Melton and Robert Covington. Maxey led the Sixers with 25 points, followed by Kelly Oubre Jr. with 24.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Coach Nick Nurse expressed disappointment in the team’s performance despite the missing players, stressing the need for better execution and defense.

“Even though you’re missing whatever, five guys, those guys can collectively play together better than that,” Nurse said. “They can execute better, they can defend better than that. They can make those open shots. There was plenty of shots to step into and make.”

The Sixers’ shooting woes were evident as Nic Batum and the combination of Oubre and Maxey struggled from beyond the arc. Maxey shot only 9 of 24 overall, and the team managed just four offensive rebounds in the second half.

“When you’re short-handed, you’ve got to play better than that,” Nurse said.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Embiid’s ongoing absence not only affects the Sixers’ performance but could also impact his eligibility for NBA awards. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players need to participate in at least 65 regular-season games to qualify for awards like MVP or All-NBA teams. Embiid has only reached this threshold twice in his career.

Nurse experimented with unconventional lineups with key players out, which didn’t pay off against the Jazz. Utah, led by Markkanen’s size advantage and effective shooting, maintained control throughout the game. The Jazz had previously tied a franchise record with 154 points against Detroit.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

John Collins and Jordan Clarkson also contributed significantly for Utah, scoring 19 and 18 points, respectively. Despite committing 24 turnovers, Clarkson believed the team improved with every possession.

“Every possession, I felt we got better,” Clarkson said. “I know we always say together and communicate but that’s the only way to win in the league.”

Looking ahead, the Jazz will face the Milwaukee Bucks next, while the 76ers have a break until their Wednesday game against the Atlanta Hawks.

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