SALT LAKE CITY — Al Jefferson will be playing tonight against his old team, the Boston Celtics, who drafted him out of Mississippi's Prentiss High School in the 2004 Draft with the 15th overall pick.
He’d love to get a victory against the team he played with for three years, something he hasn’t been able to do in the six years since leaving Boston, going 0-10 against the Celtics with Minnesota and Utah.
Jefferson and the Jazz get a shot in a 7 p.m. game against the Celtics, who have been playing without Rajon Rondo for the past month since he went down with a knee injury
Jefferson downplayed his connection to Boston after Monday’s shootaround, but he talked about playing against Kevin Garnett, who was traded for Jefferson and four other players in July of 2007.
“One thing about Garnett he’s going to take pride in his defense, going to play with high energy,’’ Jefferson said. “He doesn’t seem like he’s 35, 36 years old, he’s going to compete and play at a high level so we’ve got to match his energy.’’
When asked about a “rivalry” with Garnett, Jefferson said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a rivalry. KG loves to compete, I love to compete. If you don’t stand up for yourself and hit him back, he’s going to be dogging you all night. It’s nothing personal, just basketball.’’
Since losing Rondo in late January, the Celtics have gone 9-4 and stand seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. However, Boston is 1-3 on its current Western road trip, including a 92-86 loss at Portland Sunday night.
The Jazz haven't beaten Boston since March of 2010, before Jefferson joined the Jazz that summer.