SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 5 (Ticker) --
got the Philadelphia
76ers off to a quick start with his jump shots. They finished
off the Utah Jazz with free throws.
Thomas scored 18 of his season-high 30 points in the first
quarter and the 76ers made 16 of 18 foul shots in the final
period as they held on for a 106-99 victory over the reeling
Jazz, who have lost seven in a row.
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The Sixers improved to 5-2 on their current road swing, which
ends Friday in Minnesota. The victory was just Philadelphia's
second all-time at the Delta Center, which opened in 1993.
"Nobody expected us to win on this road trip, so it feels really
good to be playing the way we're playing, and we've got to keep
it up," Thomas said. "We needed this one bad because
Minnesota's going to be tough, playing down there. We got this
win, that's over with, and now we've got to try and get that
"I thought we did an excellent job shooting foul shots and Kenny
just had a fantastic game," Sixers coach Jim O'Brien
really got us off to a fast start and defended extremely well."
Thomas made 11-of-14 shots as he fell one point shy of his
career-high established at Golden State on March 24, 2002. He
threw in a long hook to get himself going as he made 8-of-8
shots in the opening quarter, helping Philadelphia get off to a
decisive 39-21 lead.
"I just felt really good. I started out taking shots and got
into the flow of the game," Thomas said. "I try to do that
every night. They were double-teaming Allen (Iverson) and he
was kicking it out to me and I just tried to knock down shots."
The Sixers didn't commit a single turnover in the first half
and finished with just nine overall as they took a 59-48 lead
into halftime. The Jazz got back into it thanks to a 13-4 run
near the end of the third quarter but could not get over the
hump in the final period.
"That's a tough game to win," Jazz rookie guard Kirk Snyder
said. "You have to make it easy on yourself and get turnovers.
If you don't force any turnovers, it makes it really hard to win
, who scored a season-high 18 points in the loss,
pulled the Jazz within 80-79 with a long baseline jumper with
9:12 to play. Kyle Korver
immediately answered with a
3-pointer, and the Jazz didn't get any closer than four points
the rest of the way.
"This is getting old," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer
thought we had a chance to win when we got to within one and
then they hit a couple threes and a few free throws, they got a
couple of big offensive rebounds towards the end of the game."
Utah's biggest obstacle in the fourth quarter was foul trouble.
The Jazz got called for five fouls in the first two minutes,
starting a parade of foul shots for the Sixers.
"Our guys competed hard; I thought we played hard, but I don't
think we always had everything go our way," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan
said. "I thought they busted their butts to try to win the
ballgame. ... Things don't always go your way, you don't always
get the calls you want."
Philadelphia made 15 of its last 16 free throws and also got a
clutch jumper by Iverson that made it 99-93 with 2:07 to play.
and Thomas added two foul shots each to seal the
win. Jackson made all 10 of his attempts as the Sixers connected
on 29-of-33 from the line.
"That was good that we got to the foul line and that we were
able to produce the free throws," Jackson said. "That was
important because free throws can make or break a game."
Iverson had 23 points and nine assists as he won in the Delta
Center for the first time in his career. He wore a heating pad
on his left shoulder as he sat on the bench in the third
quarter, but he came back to play the entire fourth.
"It feels good for me personally, just to come in here and get a
win," Iverson said. "It makes me feel good that we can come on
the road and be successful. I just feel good about the direction
Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds and ex-Sixer Matt Harpring
had 23 points for the Jazz, whose only win in their last 11
games was a two-point victory in Philadelphia on December 20 in
which they surrendered 51 points to Iverson.