Clarkson, streaking Jazz win showdown vs Simmons, 76ers

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) dunks the ball against Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott (1) in the first half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY – Even without Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers were scoring every time down the court.

But the Utah Jazz didn’t blink. They just gave the ball to Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson had a season-high 40 points off the bench to send the streaking Jazz past Philadelphia 134-123 in a matchup of conference leaders Monday night despite a career-best 42 points from Ben Simmons.

“I’ve never played with anyone like JC in my lifetime,” teammate Joe Ingles said. “It’s pretty cool to play with someone that’s so locked into what his role is and so comfortable in the role.”

Utah (23-5) has won eight straight games and 19 of 20. Clarkson has been a sparkplug in several of those victories.

A leading candidate for NBA Sixth Man of the Year already, Clarkson knows his role is to score — and there aren’t many shots he’ll turn down. Nicknamed the Flame Thrower, Clarkson was so hot he didn’t want to come off the court.

“What Jordan did tonight was special,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “He and I just laughed about me telling him that I appreciate him at least hiding (his disappointment) when he comes out.”

Clarkson hit a career-high eight 3-pointers and Donovan Mitchell added 24 points to help the Jazz overcome an early 14-point deficit. Philadelphia has dropped three straight.