SALT LAKE CITY – Ben Simmons returned to action for the Sixers on the final day of the Utah Jazz Summer League. A balanced and efficient offense came along for the ride.
Three different players scored in double figures – led by 17 points from Christian Wood – to lift the Sixers to an 86-75 victory over the Jazz. The Sixers shot 32 of 71 (45.1 percent) from the field and 8 of 23 (34.8 percent) from the perimeter to finish with a 1-2 record in Utah.
The Sixers led by double digits through most of the second half after taking the lead for good on a layup from Shawn Long that made it 54-53 midway through the third quarter.
It didn't take long for the Sixers to break the game wide open after halftime. After Trey Lyles hit a pair of free throws to put the Jazz up 53-52, the Sixers responded with a decisive 13-1 run. Long keyed the run with a layup and a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions. Bryon Allen capped the spurt with another three-pointer, giving the Sixers a 65-54 lead with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
The No.1 overall pick still hasn't found his shot, but that hasn't stopped Simmons from finding other ways to involve himself on offense and defense.
He totaled only six points on 2 of 8 shooting, but Simmons also collected seven rebounds and dished out six assists. On defense, he gave leading Jazz scorer Trey Lyles all he could handle. Lyles scored 22 points with Simmons guarding him, but he shot just 4 of 17 from the field.
Second-year players Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood shined brightest for the Sixers against the Jazz. The frontcourt duo each tallied 17 points and combined for 13 rebounds. Wood averaged 18.7 points for the Sixers over three games.
T.J. McConnell was the other player to reach double figures for the Sixers. McConnell finished with 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Six players scored eight or more points for the Sixers overall.
Getting transition baskets proved to be a simple task for the Sixers. They dominated Utah in that category during all four quarters. The Sixers outscored the Jazz 15-1 in fastbreak points. It contributed to a 42-22 overall edge with points in the paint.
Top Sixers plays
Simmons once again showed of his smooth passing ability in setting up teammates for easy baskets. The best of those moments came with 47.4 seconds left in the first half. Simmons flipped the ball behind his back and fed it to Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot for a quick layup. The basket cut Utah's lead to 43-42.
The Jazz struggled to contain the Sixers on the perimeter and around the rim. This manifested itself in a fourth-quarter sequence in which Wood and Maodo Lo drilled back-to-back three-pointers and Wood threw down a thunderous dunk, putting the Sixers ahead 76-63 with 6:59 remaining.
The Sixers head to Las Vegas and open play on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers at 8:30 p.m.