Utah Jazz: Rookie Carter-Williams nearly carries 76ers to victory
Jazz • Rookie scores 19 points in a losing effort for the 76ers.
Published: February 12, 2014 10:45PM
Updated: February 12, 2014 10:58PM
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Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) passes over Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) as the Utah Jazz host the Philadelphia 76ers, NBA basketball at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Wednesday February 12, 2014.

The Jazz saw likely Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams at his best Wednesday night.

Carter-Williams finished with 19 points, five rebounds and eight assists as Philadelphia pushed Utah to the limit before falling, 105-100, at EnergySolutions Arena.

Carter-Williams was the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft. The Jazz took their starting point guard, Trey Burke, with the No. 9 pick after moving up to get him.

Burke finished with seven points, two rebounds and two assists in the matchup of top rookie point guards. Asked if the Jazz passing on him factored into his outstanding play against them, Carter-Williams smiled slightly.

“I think it gives me a little bit of an edge — a chip on my shoulder … competitiveness,” he said. “But Trey’s a great player. The Jazz made a great choice.”

According to Philadelphia coach Brett Brown, Carter-Williams played “one of his best games” against Utah.

“I thought Michael played with great poise,” Brown explained. “He could have handled this particular match-up in different ways, but I thought he grew tonight.

“He played with a level of sophistication and pace and poise. He ran things that needed to be run. He’s starting to understand how to get his shot ... and he did it under a calm flow to the game.”

Carter-Williams agreed with his coach.

“Yeah, it was probably one of my best [games],” he said. “I thought, defensively, I did well locking in. Offensively, I made some shots and made some floaters and found my teammates when they were open. So I found that balance, I thought, was good.”

For Philadelphia, the defeat to the Jazz was its eighth in a row.

Compared to a 123-78 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles and a 123-80 loss at Golden State in their previous two games, however, the 76ers made a remarkable turnaround in Utah.

Philadelphia rallied from a 14-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining to tie the game, 91-91. But the Sixers could not finish their comeback.

Said Brown: “... To get humbled the way we did the last few games and to be down on the roas in a loud building, I’m proud of what we did.”

Evan Turner led Philadelphia with 21 points.

“We battled, we competed,” he said. “Once again, it’s all about trying to be consistent. We did some good things and gave ourselves a chance to win. But the last couple of minutes, we kind of sank down.”

luhm@sltrib.com

A closer look

• Philadelphia rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams finishes with 19 points, five rebounds and eight assists in 37 minutes.

• The 76ers rally from a 14-point deficit in the final 10 minutes, but they can’t finish the comeback in a 105-100 loss to Utah.

• The Sixers lose their season-high eighth straight game despite holding the Jazz without a point for 6:04 in the fourth quarter.