PHILADELPHIA – James Ennis III hit a 3-pointer and dropped for three pushups, celebratory calisthenics in an early run in which the 76ers flexed their offensive muscle
“I wanted to get a little workout in,” Ennis said.
Ennis passed the fitness test and Tobias Harris scored 26 points to keep Philadelphia perfect at home with a 103-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Al Horford scored 17 points to help the Sixers win for the eighth time in nine games and improve to 10-0 at home. A night after the Raptors led the Jazz by 40 points at halftime, the Sixers led by a more modest 18 points at the break — a cushion needed late to secure the win against Utah.
“We say every game before we get out there to protect our house,” Harris said. “Our crowd, our energy, our atmosphere, it’s real.”
Ennis, Philly’s super sub, had the crowd going wild in the first half when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt and did three quick pushups to stretch the lead to 26 points. Ennis missed the free throw but it hardly mattered at home. The Sixers made 13 3s and have started to play more like a team expected to contend for an Eastern Conference title than one that slogged through a 2-5 stretch in mid-November.
“It’s in the moment,” Ennis said. “I didn’t mean nothing by it. And one.”
Horford did his part, scoring five baskets in the first quarter for 12 points, to go with one ridiculous block. Bojan Bogdanovic took a turnover the other way and went straight down the middle for a layup attempt, when a hustling Horford caught up from the right and twisted his body for the rejection.
They blocked, they exercised, they alley-ooped.
Matisse Thybulle turned a steal into an alley-oop dunk for Ben Simmons and Harris came right back for a 3 that made it 52-27, a game the Sixers had in control until a late push by the Jazz got them within single digits.
“It’s nice until they make a run,” Simmons said. “They’re always going to fight.”
Rudy Gobert led Utah with 27 points.
Bucks 132, Knicks 88
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo needed only 14 minutes to record another double-double, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds as the Bucks won their 12th straight game.
Milwaukee 18-3) led by as many as 47 and cruised behind Antetokounmpo.
The reigning MVP shot 10 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, while playing 22 minutes.
Bulls 113, Kings 106
In Sacramento, Zach LaVine scored 28 points and made four free throws in the final 11 seconds, and Chicago overcame a sloppy fourth quarter to beat Sacramento.
Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and seven rebounds, Wendell Carter added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Tomas Satoransky scored 14 points as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak.
Buddy Hield finished with 26 points for Sacramento. Richaun Holmes added 20 points and nine rebounds.
Pacers 117, Grizzlies 104
In Memphis, Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis added 18 and Indiana beat depleted the hosts.
In Other Games
Hawks 104, Warriors 79
Suns 109, Hornets 104