The Utah Jazz finished their three-game road trip facing a tough, veteran-laden Boston Celtics team. After a tough first half, Utah worked hard in the second half, but still fell short to the Celtics 94-82 in a hard-fought, chippy affair.
Boston was led by their stars. Kevin Garnett finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Paul Pierce added 20 points and Brandon Bass threw in 19. All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo added 14 assists.
Gordon Hayward had another fine all-around performance, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He was tough defensively, including a highlight-worthy pair of blocked shots on the same play. After an 0-7 start, Al Jefferson finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.
Emotions run high: It was a testy game, as Garnett set the tone with some physical play. In the fourth quarter, he and Al Jefferson got into it, with Garnett appearing to land an elbow into the Jazz center. The result was a double technical and a little swing in momentum for the Celtics.
First half frustrations: The Utah Jazz came out flat and never really had much of a flow in the first half as Boston’s stingy defense was on display. As opposed to their recent outings, Utah was hesitant to attack the paint early on, focusing mostly on perimeter shots. And said jump shots were not falling consistently. When the halftime buzzer sounded, Utah found themselves with just 12 inside points and some subpar shooting: 14 of 37 from the field — just 37.8 percent.
They also could not take care of the ball. Utah committed 12 turnovers which led to 11 Boston points. Several of the miscues resulted from offensive fouls on plays where the Jazz played into the Celtics defensive intensity.
- The Jazz struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 15 of 24 from the charity stripe (62.5 percent). The pair of young Jazz bigs, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, combined to miss all five of their attempts.
- Earl Watson was again reinserted as the primary back-up point guard and finished with three assists.
- Utah took much better care of the ball in the second half, having only two turnovers the second 24 minutes.
- Boston had 24 assists with just 11 miscues.
- The Jazz dominated the boards, winning the rebound battle 49-38.
- Starters Devin Harris and C.J. Miles had a rough game, going just three of 16 from the field.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.