SALT LAKE CITY -- The Philadelphia 76ers wanted to end the second third of the season with dignity.
They wanted to exit EnergySolutions Arena holding their heads high. That's something they were not able to do while losing by a combined 88 points in their previous game.
"This is not who we are," Sixers coach Brett Brown said before Wednesday night's game against the Utah Jazz. "To get whacked by the margin we've been beaten by, it's deflating."
Brown's squad did keep things more competitive. But the Sixers still headed into the all-star break with their eight consecutive loss and 18th setback in 21 games. This time, the final outcome was 105-100.
For the Sixers (13-39), a five-point setback could be considered a positive.
They had five double-digit scorers, with Thaddeus Young finishing with a team-high 26 points in the losing effort. Michael Carter-Williams got the best of Utah's Trey Burke in a battle of the league's top two rookie point guards.
Carter-Williams finished with 19 points, 8 assists, 3 blocked shots, and 2 steals. He also held Burke to seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.
The Sixers kept things close in large part because of their standout rookie.
His three-point play knotted the score at 91 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left. The Jazz (19-33) responded with a 9-0 run before James Anderson's three three-pointers closed the gap to 103-100 with 4.6 seconds left.
That was as close as the Sixers got on a night when Lavoy Allen left the game with left-knee soreness in the third quarter. He didn't return.
Reserve guard Alec Burks led Utah with 26 points.
But some could argue that this is a moral victory for the Sixers.
One night after losing by 45 points to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers suffered a 43-point setback at the hands of the Golden State Warriors on Monday.
The Sixers joined the franchise's 1993-94 squad as the NBA's only teams to lose consecutive games by 40-plus points. That team suffered defeats of 48 and 45 points.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the combined margin of loss of 88 points was the third largest total margin of defeat in consecutive games by any team in NBA history.
For Carter-Williams, facing someone in his draft class turned out to be a breather.
That's because the 6-foot-6, 185-pounder struggled through a combined 17-for-48 shooting performance and 16 turnovers against standout veteran point guards Steve Nash (Los Angeles Lakers), Chris Paul (Clippers), and Steph Curry (Warriors).
Reserve guard Hollis Thompson was sidelined for the second consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. The 6-8, 206-pounder ranks second among NBA rookies in field-goal percentage (47.0) and fourth in three-point percentage (36.0).
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