The Sixers (5-4) dropped the first two games of a five-game homestand to Milwaukee and the previously winless Pistons. They set a dubious mark against Detroit by shooting 29.8 percent from the field, the worst showing by any pro team in Philly since the Sixers' arena opened in 1996.
"That one hurt," Holiday said. "I know all of us here, even though Detroit isn't a bad team, you never want to be the one to have them get their first win. Knowing that, we didn't come out and play."
"We knew they were going to come out with a lot of intensity," said Mo Williams, who had 12 points for Utah despite playing with an injured right thumb. "It was no surprise to us. We just fell short at the end."
Williams said he injured the thumb on his shooting hand on the first play of the game when it got tangled in Holiday's jersey.
The Jazz fell to 1-6 on the road, with the back end of consecutive games coming up Saturday at Washington.
"This team has a lot of pride," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "I never question that."
Philadelphia put together a 13-2 run to take an 84-73 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But Utah responded with a 9-2 spurt to pull within four with 2:53 left, making the most of aggressive play in the low post by Jefferson and Derrick Favors.
Holiday then converted a layup and Thaddeus Young hit a jumper for an eight-point cushion and the Sixers pulled away for a much-needed home win.
Before the game, injured Sixers center Andrew Bynum said he had suffered a "setback" in his return from a knee injury. Bynum said he now has swelling and a bone bruise on both knees and his target date of Dec. 10 for basketball activities is in limbo.
Bynum said he is still hoping for that December date, with one to four weeks of basketball-related activity to follow, pushing his much-anticipated Philadelphia debut to as late as mid-January.
That news didn't shake the Sixers, who still have home games coming up against Cleveland on Friday and Toronto on Tuesday.
Entering play on Friday, Philadelphia was 29th in the league in shooting percentage (40.1 percent) as well as scoring with an average of 88 points per game. It shot 46 percent (40 for 87) against Utah while beating its season scoring average.
"Anytime you get a win against a good team, it's huge," Richardson said. "You don't want teams coming in and feeling like they can beat you."
The Sixers led by as many as 12 points in the first half and took a 52-43 advantage into the locker room.
The Sixers were 9 for 10 from the free-throw line. ... Carroll knocked down all six of his field-goal attempts, including one 3-pointer, and all four of his free throws. ... Millsap was 2 for 4 from beyond the arc, pushing his season 3-point total to 10 for 17.