Utah Jazz: Triple-overtime win behind them, Jazz turn focus to Celtics

By Jim Patrick

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012 7:37 a.m. MST

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) defends against Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Associated Press

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BOSTON — Thirteen hours after their dramatic, triple-overtime victory over Toronto, the Utah Jazz pulled out a portable film screen on a practice court Tuesday to get ready for tonight's game with the Boston Celtics.

Monday's 140-133 win over the Raptors was exciting and all, but Tuesday was about getting back to business.

"It was a good win, obviously; it was our first road win, so it was a feel-good moment," point guard Mo Williams said. "But the task at hand is with the Celtics and they're one of the better teams in the league."

The win over the Raptors certainly brought a boost of confidence for the Jazz. It was Utah's first road victory of the young season after dropping four straight to start the season. While the Jazz have cruised to wins by nine, 13 and 19 points in Salt Lake City, nothing clicked on the road before Monday's marathon win.

Coach Tyrone Corbin said the win that improved the Jazz to 4-4 overall was important because nothing teaches winning on the road like winning on the road.

"You can talk about it, but until you experience it, you can't grow through it," Corbin said.

They went through a lot on Monday night against the Raptors.

The Jazz trailed most of the game and were down by three in the closing seconds of regulation. Randy Foye drove the lane and tried to get defenders in the air to draw a foul. But the Raptors stayed on the floor, which forced Foye to dish the ball off to the Jazz's least-likely 3-point weapon, Al Jefferson.

Even Jefferson, who had previously made all of one 3-pointer in his entire NBA career, didn't think he would be the one to take a game-tying shot, much less make it.

"Negative," Jefferson said. "I didn't think I'd be taking the shot. But Randy went in there and he double-pumped to try to get them in the air. Nobody went in the air so he kicked it back to me. … I had no choice."

It wasn't just Jefferson stepping up. Williams racked up 14 assists — hindered by seven turnovers — to help power the Jazz offense. Paul Millsap was dependable, scoring 34 points. Foye scored 20 points off the bench before fouling out. Derrick Favors also scored 15 points off the bench.

The Jazz depend on everybody chipping in offensively, which is why Williams' night was key. Williams played 50 minutes after missing Saturday's game with a groin strain he first suffered during the preseason and then re-aggravated in Utah's loss last Friday at Denver.

"For us, you've always got to play hard. We know there's a guy on the bench who could be coming in at any time, so there's no reason to take a play off," Gordon Hayward said. "That's been the beauty of this style of basketball. If somebody isn't going, somebody else will step up."

More help could be on the way in the form of guard Earl Watson, who was in California on Tuesday getting his left knee examined, Corbin said. Watson was expected to rejoin the team today in Boston.

Depth is critical for the Jazz, especially on the road, where they have not fared well. Tonight's game with the Celtics is the second game of a four-game swing with stops in Philadelphia and Washington. This would be a very good time to get back some injured players.

"It's very important," Jefferson said. "We need all the help we can get. In my opinion, this is a very winnable roadtrip. We could win all four games."

Monday's win over Toronto was a nice start toward that goal. Still, the Jazz were taking it easy in practice Tuesday. They played a lot of minutes Monday night and arrived in Boston late at night before their lunchtime practice.

"Some of the guys need to get some action on the floor, so we need to get some work in," Corbin said. "But we don't need to kill the guys, because we've got a game tomorrow."

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