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Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson hoping for breakthrough in Boston

Published: Wednesday, March 28 2012 10:39 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz' Al Jefferson, left, dribbles against Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, of Georgia, during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 25, 2012, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 139-133 Sunday night in the NBA's first quadruple-overtime game since 1997.

David Goldman, Associated Press

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BOSTON — Jazz center Al Jefferson hopes to experience something tonight he's never done in his eight-year NBA career.

"It's all good to come back," said Jefferson, who was drafted by Boston in 2004 and played the first three seasons with the Celtics. "It would be even better to get a win."

The Jazz lost 110-86 here at TD Northbank Garden and again at EnergySolutions Arena, and Jefferson's Minnesota teams fell six times to the Celtics while he was there.

"Never beat Boston," Jefferson said. "I've beat every team in the league except Boston."

The Jazz will have their hands full even if star sharpshooter Ray Allen isn't able to go because of his ankle injury.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and crew have won two in a row and have a 17-8 home record.

"They're veteran guys. They know each other very well," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They're going to compete every night they step on the floor. Defensively, (they're) one of the best teams if not the best team in the league. ... They're going to be physical. Offensively, they read each other very well."

Corbin said the Celtics excel at capitalizing on your mistakes.

As for his team, the Jazz (27-23) are hoping to keep their winning ways on the road and overall. Though 8-17 away from Utah, the Jazz have won three of four road games, including Monday's 105-84 blowout at New Jersey. Their quadruple overtime loss in Atlanta (139-133) was their only loss in the past eight games.

"We're going to need everybody on this team. (You) find out different nights what's going to get us going and be ready to go," Corbin said. "Good team in Boston, always been great, especially on their home floor. It's a little easier to get up for these guys."

SHORT SHOTS FROM SHOOTAROUND:

Corbin said Earl Watson will again be the first point guard off the bench in tonight's game. Watson didn't play in four of five games for the Jazz last week following his return from having laser treatment on his sprained left ankle.

Jamaal Tinsley had filled in nicely for Watson in his absence, but Watson was Devin Harris' primary backup in Monday's win.

"Earl was hurt. He's back healthy," Corbin said. "I told both guys, (it will) take us a little while to see what gives us the best chance. But I like what both guys bring. They lead their group pretty well. I'll probably come off with Earl first tonight. I told Jamaal ... to be ready to go back in."

The team still doesn't have an update on Raja Bell, who has an appointment in Miami on Thursday to get a third opinion on what to do with his ailing left knee that might need microfracture surgery.

When looking at the standings, Corbin believes the top three spots are pretty set in the Western Conference between Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers. But the Jazz still have a shot at any of the spots from four to eight, he believes. Utah is currently in the No. 7 spot.

"You just want to make sure you're winning and playing as best as you can," Corbin said. "And who knows where it will fall. We'll just see. We're in good position to improve where we are."

Email: jody@desnews.com

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