The Jazz played better than they have on the road Wednesday night at Boston, but after shooting at a 40-percent clip from the field, they certainly were slowed offensively. Boston beat the Jazz 98-93.
GUARDS: Mo Williams (14 points, five assists, 6-of-19 shooting) had probably the second-worst game of his season, after a two-point, two-assist, 1-of-6 shooting effort Friday at Denver. But with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, Gordon Hayward was as good as he's been through nine games. His 31 minutes, however, were the second-lowest of the regular season. At least Celtic guards Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry were inefficient on offense (3-of-10 shooting), though Rondo's 10 assists hurt the Jazz. It didn't matter as much, though, since Leandro Barbosa (16 points, 6-of-8 shooting, three assists) was wonderful and actually played 59 more seconds than Terry. GRADE: C-.
FORWARDS: With 20 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal, Paul Millsap earned more than 40 minutes of playing time. Perhaps he should have played even more if he was a bit more accurate from the field (9-21). Still, his point total marked his season's highest total other than Monday's triple-overtime triumph in Toronto. His 12 rebounds were the third-highest of the season. (It's been a good week for the bruiser.)
Impressive was Derrick Favors' ability to get to the charity stripe (10-of-14 FTs in just 26 minutes). He also grabbed nine rebounds in that time, the third-highest of his season, too. But Marvin Williams (seven points, 2-of-6 shooting, 25 minutes) wasn't much of a factor. But Paul Pierce (23 points in just 29 minutes — he's averaging 19 in 35) was a dagger from deep. Jeff Green's 27 starter's minutes led to his 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. That was his season high and more than double his average. GRADE: C+.
CENTERS: The Jazz got decent work from Al Jefferson (13 points, 14 rebounds, 6-of-12 shooting). His glass-cleaning stat tied for his season's highest, excluding Monday's extra-minutes affair. Considering the Jazz's low field-goal percentage, Mo Williams should have taken the lead in proactively getting him the ball. A mediocre defender, Big Al even did a decent job on Kevin Garnett (11 points on 4-of-10 shooting — 4.9 below his average in nearly the same minutes). GRADE: A-.1 comment on this story
BENCH: Led by Green and Barbosa, the Celtics walloped the Jazz's bench, outscoring it 47-25. Not a good day. Randy Foye went 2-of-3 from distance, but 0-3 otherwise. Perhaps surprisingly, his point total was the third-lowest of the season. Enes Kanter and Jamaal Tinsley were non-factors. Foye's 3-point field-goal percentage is the highest in his career so far. GRADE: D+.
OVERALL: Fans can be encouraged by the Jazz's effort, but they still struggle on the road. This was a winnable game. It's nice to see Utah's efficiency from distance continue (7-of-15 Wednesday). Juggling minutes between Jefferson, Millsap, Marvin Williams and Favors must keep coach Tyrone Corbin up at night. GRADE: C.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously a Deseret News intern, he can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @wilklogan