Utah Jazz report card: Forwards shine in home loss to Celtics
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz center Al Jefferson has never defeated the Boston Celtics, the team that drafted him, since he left that organization several years ago. That fact remains true despite his current team's close game against Boston on Monday night. It took an extra period, but Paul Pierce scored 26 points to lead the short-handed Celtics over the Jazz, 110-107.
GUARDS: Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin shook up the rotation by starting Earl Watson at point guard and playing Alec Burks at backup point guard. Earl Watson played about as well as the guy he replaced, Jamaal Tinsley. That didn't come as a surprise. Watson had two points, two assists, two rebounds and four turnovers. Randy Foye didn't receive his normal minutes as DeMarre Carroll found himself back in the rotation and occupied some of those minutes. Regardless, Foye did not take advantage of his 17 minutes as he went 2 of 8 from the field for six points. GRADE: D.
FORWARDS: Despite twisting an ankle on a layup, Paul Millsap finished the night with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Millsap actually led the Jazz in assists and had a nice battle against Boston's Brandon Bass. Marvin Williams played one of his better games in quite some time. Williams was active on both ends of the floor and finished with 15 points on 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point land and 5-of-10 shooting overall. GRADE: A.
CENTERS: Jefferson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds but carried the monkey still on his back as he walked off Larry H. Miller Court with another loss to the Celtics. Jefferson did just about everything he could down the stretch against his former team, but the Jazz went away from their clutch center in the waning minutes of overtime in favor of other players. GRADE: B.
BENCH: With the exception of Gordon Hayward, who hasn't missed a beat since returning from injury, the Jazz bench effort was pedestrian at best. Hayward poured in 26 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point land and 7-of-16 shooting overall. Hayward played 36 minutes, which included most of the fourth quarter and the overtime period. Burks played 33 minutes and finished with eight points on 4-of-10 shooting from the floor to go with five rebounds and three assists. Carroll scored eight points in his 27 minutes while Derrick Favors finished with seven points and six rebounds in 19 minutes. Favors did not play any of the overtime period and left late in the fourth quarter soon after committing his fifth foul. GRADE: B.
OVERALL: The Celtics were in the fifth game of a five-game road trip where they had gone 1-3 up until Monday. The Celtics were also on the back end of a back-to-back. The Jazz did not take advantage of the situation and allowed players not named Pierce or Kevin Garnett to make an impact. Corbin shuffled the rotation slightly and that may have impacted the game, but the Jazz also went away from Jefferson, who has been clutch, in the closing minutes of regulation and throughout the overtime period. The Jazz are now one-half game in front of the Houston Rockets for seventh place in the Western Conference. GRADE: C.
Tyler Huskinson is a freelance journalist who mainly cover sports. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @TDHuskiSports.
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