SALT LAKE CITY — For a second consecutive game, the Sixers could not get a final winning play after battling down to wire.
The Sixers on Wednesday fell to the Jazz, 100-94, after cutting a 24-point third-quarter deficit to a point in the game's final minute. Utah never let the Sixers take the lead down the stretch, and sealed the win with six free throws in the final 17.7 seconds.
Markelle Fultz scored 23 points to lead the Sixers. He was one of four players to finish in double figures. The Sixers shot just 41.3 percent (31 of 75) from the field while allowing Utah to shoot 50 percent (11 of 22) from three-point range.
Utah spent the third quarter burying the Sixers under a barrage of baskets from Donovan Mitchell and Dante Exum. Mitchell opened the quarter by draining a three-pointer and then stealing the ball to feed Exum for a dunk. Then the duo combined for three baskets over three possessions — with Mitchell and Exum contributing a three-pointer apiece — to push Utah's lead to 63-43.
The Sixers did not go away. Fultz scored 13 points and dished out three assists in the fourth quarter. It helped whittle a double-digit deficit to a one-point game in the final minute. Fultz cut it to a basket on a three-pointer and then Brandon Austin made two free throws with 52.3 seconds left to trim Utah's lead to 92-91.
Mitchell came to the rescue with a fadeaway jumper from the elbow with 29.2 seconds left. Alex Poythress drilled a three-pointer to cut it to one again with 11.8 seconds remaining, but the Sixers never drew closer.
Facing intense defensive pressure from the Jazz all night, Fultz strung together a brilliant fourth quarter to get the Sixers back in the game late. He put up good numbers on offense, finishing with 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting. Fultz made four three-pointers and totaled five assists.
This will likely be the last chance for Sixers fans to see the top pick in action in Utah this week. The Sixers plan to rest Fultz for at least one game this week before heading to Las Vegas for summer league action there.
Besides Fultz, the Sixers got a boost from quite a few other players to key their late rally. Poythress added 17 points and collected eight rebounds. Brandon Austin chipped in 16 points. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 12 points while shooting 3 of 4 from long distance.
Exum led Utah with 26 points and 10 assists. Mitchell added 15 points and three steals. The Jazz also got 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Eric Griffin.
Capitalizing on offensive rebounding paved the way for the Sixers to rally. The Sixers collected 15 offensive boards and finished with a 36-12 advantage in second-chance points.
Top Sixers plays
With the Sixers battling double-digit deficits for much of the night, there were a dearth of highlights for the team over 40 minutes.
Poythress provided one of the top plays in the second quarter when he snagged the ball after Exum blocked Luwawu-Cabarrot's runner and put it back for a layup. Then, on the following possession, Fultz drained his first three-pointer over Exum. The two baskets cut Utah's lead to 37-33 with 3:40 left before halftime.
Fultz went back to work in the fourth quarter. He drilled a three-pointer and banked in a floating jumper on back-to-back possessions and followed with a pull-up jumper a few seconds later to trim the Jazz lead to 84-74 with 6:37 remaining.
Furkan Korkmaz, the 26th overall pick by the Sixers last year, made his debut after signing with the team. Korkmaz was in the starting lineup and finished the night with three points on 0 for 5 shooting in addition to three assists and two rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Sixers wrap up summer league play in Utah against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.