The Celtics win with the luck of the Irish while the Jazz sing the blues. Here’s what we learned in tonight’s game as the Celtics outplayed the Jazz to win.
1) The Celtics are a horrible rebounding team now.
2) The Celtic players are some of the most disciplined players ever. No centres shooting 3pters like that LA team.
3) The Celtics greatest strength in the league, is playmaking. Whether it be drive and kick, or inside-outside, when the Celtics execute they do it flawlessly.
4) Greg Stiemsma is the best defensive centre coming off the bench in the league. Nobody outworked or outhustled him while he played. If only he could stay out of foul trouble, he’d be perfect.
Throughout the course of the game, especially in the 2nd and 4th, the Celtics absolutely dismantled the Jazz. Rondo, Garnett, Bass, and Greg Stiemsma thoroughly outworked, outsmarted, and outhustled the Jazz getting to the basket at will, easy layups and dunks, and extreme activity on the defensive end. The Celtics led by as much as 18 at one point during the game. The Jazz didn’t have an answer for Boston as early in the first and especially in the 2nd, the Celtics lived in the paint getting easy looks and alley oops for Ryan Hollins, Brendan Bass, and Kevin Garnett.
At halftime, the Celtics lead 45-38, while Garnett harassed Jefferson into a 1-8 shooting. Every time any of Utah’s bigs entered the paint, Garnett, and either Bass or Stiemsma was there along with Pierce or Rondo suffocating any of Utah’s bigs from passing out, or from scoring easily in the paint, taking Utah’s greatest strengths from them. Surprisingly Boston had the lead despite being outrebounded 28-16 at halftime, thanks in part to forcing 11 turnovers for Utah, as opposed to 4 for Boston, and holding Utah to 38% shooting while the C’s finished with 45% shooting.
Then the 3rd quarter happened and things seemingly looked like a blowout for Boston. Garnett had 10 points in the 3rd and 3 assists, and acted as a facilitator/scorer from the high post. Boston quickly went on a scoring binge and lead by 18 with 7 minutes remaining in the 3rd and up 61-43. Coach Ty Corbin quickly called a timeout and then the Jazz came back. Boston became complacent as Gordon Hayward and Al Jefferson contributed in scoring or playmaking to lead a 17-5 run for Utah as they got to within 4 until Paul Pierce, “the Truth” hit some clutch free throws to extend the lead to 6 ending the 3rd quarter. The collapse happened because Boston started settling for too many midrange jumpshots and Utah became aggressive behind Hayward and Jefferson attacking the rim scoring on 1 jumpshot, but 6 dunks/layups during that stretch while Boston had 0 in the final 7 minutes of the 3rd.
In the 4th Utah quickly tied the game at 66 behind the playmaking of Earl Watson and scoring of Alec Burks and Enes Kanter. That’s when Boston’s bench became alive as Keyon Dooling and Sasha Pavlovic hit two clutch 3’s and a clutch jumpshot to allow the Celtic starters to rest. Stiemsma and Dooling played excellent defense keeping Utah at bay until Rondo Bass and Garnett came back to finish the game off as Garnett facilitated several shots for his teammates by playing off the high post allowing an inside outside game. This allowed Bass to get easy open looks from Rondo, Pierce to drive and finish, and Garnett to find shooters like Dooling and Pavlovic open looks for 3’s. Rondo finished the game off with only 2 assists in the 4th, despite having 12 finishing the 3rd quarter. Boston then came back and used their aggressiveness with the Jazz when Utah became tired and complacent to finish the game winning 94-82 in a closer than expected romp.
The score signified a frustrating game for the Jazz that ended with technicals for Garnett and Jefferson as Garnett baited Jefferson into some fouls, and Jefferson reacted, while also making contact with Paul Millsap and getting him bloodied up. This was an aggressive matchup highlighted by the animosity between Jefferson and Garnett who were traded for each other years ago. Going forward the Celtics have to be concerned about their lack of effort in maintaining leads. However, for now, the Celtics are now tied with Philly for 1st in Atlantic division which could mean the difference between a 4th seed, or 7th seed.
Stats of the night
Garnett 10-16 shooting, 3-3 free throws, 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls in 34 minutes of playtime.
Pierce 6-16 shooting, 1-6 for 3pt shooting, 7-7 Free throws, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals 1 block, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls in 36 minutes.
Brandon Bass, 7-17 shooting, 5-6 Free throws, 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 turnover, 3 fouls in 35 minutes
Rondo, 3-7 shooting, 0-1 for 3pt, 0-1 Free throws, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists, 3 turnovers in 36 minutes
Greg Stiemsma, 1-2 free throws, 1 point, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks, and 5 fouls in 19 productive minutes
Team: 94 points, 47% shooting (36-77) , 86% free throw (18-21), 27% 3pt (4-15), 38 (4 off) rebounds, 24 assists, 6 steals, 7 blocks, 11 turnovers, 20 fouls.
Al Jefferson, 34 minutes, 7-19 shooting 4-4 free throws, 18 points, 12 rebounds 3 assists, 3 blocks, 5 fouls.
Gordon Hayward 37 minutes 8-14 shooting, 2-3 free throw, 1-1 3pt shot, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
Paul Millsap, 27 minutes, 6-10 shooting, 4-5 free throw, 16 points, 7 rebounds 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls.
Derrick Favors, 3-9 shooting, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal 1 turnover, 3 fouls.
Team: 82 points 32-82 shooting (39%) 30% 3pt shooting (3-10), 63% free throw (15-24) 49 rebounds (16 off)23 assists, 8 steals, 7 blocks, 14 turnovers, 20 fouls.
Interesting notes of the night
Avery Bradley played 43 minutes, the most of any Celtic and Jazz player. He spent most of his time guarding Gordon Hayward and was thoroughly outplayed. Garnett and Doc Rivers in post game conferences awarded the win to the bench and stated that Basketball is a game of runs, and no need of concern for other teams to make a run. Austin Rivers, the son of coach Doc Rivers is declaring the draft and coach Rivers is supporting it. This is the 7th straight home win for the Celtics, and they are now 13-5 since the allstar break.
Play of the game: Rajon Rondo cradles the ball going over his head and back down to his waist in one hand from right to left, then finding Bass under the basket for the easy unopposed dunk. Boston – Utah Highlights including Rondo’s play of the game
About the Author
Written by Andrew Mossad
Avid basketball player/fan out of Ontario with a strong preference on matchup mismatches and good basketball over highlights.