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Sixers Take Heart Despite Jazz NBLxNBA Scoreline

Despite the scoreline not being overly flattering the Adelaide 36ers will take plenty out of Saturday night's clash with the NBA's Utah Jazz as they now get ready to open their NBL season in six days' time.


The Jazz might have won the game 133-81 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in the first of the now annual NBLxNBA fixtures for 2019, but from a 36ers perspective they saw some encouraging signs as they now attempt to open #NBL20 on a positive note.


It was a first pre-season hit out for Utah who was without Mike Conley, Dante Exum, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, but they showed why they are a regular Western Conference threat in the NBA.


It capped off an eventful week for the Sixers who announced a swap of imports with former league MVP Jerome Randle returning to Adelaide, replacing Deshon Taylor and then both in Utah to play in Saturday night's game.


From a 36ers point of view, you saw what you'd want from Randle (18 points, three steals, three rebounds, two assists) and Daniel Johnson (13 points, five boards, three steals).


But what Eric Griffin delivered with 12 points and six rebounds lifted hopes of what he can do in the NBL while Daniel Dillon showed he's going to be more than handy with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.


Harry Froling had his moments too showing he can hang in the NBA with seven points and 11 rebounds.


Sixers coach Joey Wright hopes that his team can now use the scoreline and result in Utah to spur them on to want to redeem themselves quickly.


"We needed to challenge them a little more," Wright said. 


"We talked about pressuring the ball up the court and making them work to get the ball in the half-court, and once they got the ball getting up and challenging them. But we didn’t do those things.


"Any time you get humiliated out on the basketball court, you should walk back in the gym and say you don't ever want to feel like that again, and ask why did that happen. 


"If we can articulate to them and then they go back out there to never feel like that again, and run harder, yell if I need to and dive on the floor knowing if I do I won't feel like that again."


Tony Bradley top-scored for the Jazz with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Jeff Green added 16 points, Royce O'Neale 12 and Nigel Williams-Goss 12.


Fresh off his FIBA World Cup campaign with the Australian Boomers, Joe Ingles warmed up for the NBA season with 10 points, six assists and three rebounds.


"They are a good team and they play hard, and they always have for Joey," Ingles said. 


"They'll always do some different stuff which is what Joey does as a coach. I obviously wish them all the best from here and hope they have a great NBL season."


It was Jerome Randle who scored first for the 36ers and they then took the early lead when Daniel Johnson scored too. An Eric Griffin slam soon showed why the Sixers are excited by his arrival for #NBL20 and Adelaide's good start continued with a Randle triple and a floater to put them up 13-12.


That became 15-12 when Daniel Dillon got to the rim too and while the Jazz finished the quarter on a 12-0 run to lead 28-18, the Sixers had certainly made their presence felt.


Utah turned that into a 14-0 run when Ed Davis scored to open the second quarter but then a step back jumper from Griffin stopped the slide. 


Anthony Drmic then made his mark knocking down a three for the Sixers and while the Jazz were racking up the points, Adelaide was still holding its own and then Ramone Moore started to make his mark as he did 12 months ago. 


Randle was never going to let it blow out too much and knocked down another three heading towards half-time which saw the Jazz head into the sheds up 60-39.


Utah opened the second half with a triple to Bojan Bogdanovic before the Sixers started the half with an offensive board and putback slam from Griffin. Johnson also delivered a three-point play with Adelaide continuing to fight hard even with the margin getting out beyond 30.


The Jazz were starting to enjoy themselves with an individual 7-0 run from Tony Bradley before Dillon stopped the run by getting to the foul line. But Utah were still up 104-63 by three quarter-time even though the Sixers were putting on a better account than that scoreline suggested.


It's not quite winning a Hungry Jack's cheeseburger, but Moore became the most popular man in Utah when he missed two free-throws to earn the crowd some freebies from Chick-fil-A.


There were some bright moments down the stretch for the Sixers including a dunk from Johnson on a good pass from Dillon to close, but the Jazz still cruised to the 133-81 win.


The 36ers now begin their #NBL20 campaign against the Sydney Kings on Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena.




NBLxNBA


UTAH JAZZ 133 (Bradley 18, Green 16, Williams-Goss 12, O'Neale 12)


ADELAIDE 36ERS 81 (Randle 18, Johnson 13, Griffin 12)


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