Derrick Favors was a sight for sore eyes. The Utah Jazz had lost the last three games without their talented big man. Favors returned to the lineup Monday and the Jazz subsequently came away with a 110-98 victory over the Boston Celtics.
The rest time must have allowed Favors to sufficiently recover, as he showed no signs of rust in his return. He set the tone early, hitting three quick shots to start the game. While his playing time was monitored, Favors hit 8-of-9 shots, scoring 20 points on a variety of offensive moves. He looked sharp throughout and demonstrated again his value to the roster.
Monday’s outing pitted two teams residing at the bottom of the standings, with eyes looking toward the upcoming NBA Draft. With both franchises possessing a number of picks, their stays as bottom dwellers may be short-lived.
Burks shines: Guard Alec Burks had another strong effort off the Jazz bench, seemingly scoring at will. He was aggressive taking the ball to the basket, as he normally does. Burks connected on 8-of-12 shots, tallying a team-high 21 points while doling out four assists. He is among the NBA’s most improved players, while emerging as one of the league’s top sixth men.
Veterans bounce back: After struggling over the weekend, Utah’s pair of veteran forwards came back with some nice performances against the Celtics. Marvin Williams missed his first shot badly, but then proceeded to hit eight of his last nine attempts en route to a 19-point, seven-rebound evening. Richard Jefferson also bounced back with a solid all-around game. He finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Odds and ends:
• Utah’s back court of Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke finished with 20 combined points but took 27 shots to do so.
• Boston rookie Kelly Olynyk was very impressive off the pine. He was tireless on the court, making several hustle plays. He had 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
• After getting spot minutes in the backcourt, Jazz guard Brandon Rush did not play against the Celtics. John Lucas III has not played in six games, while center Andris Biedrins has not entered a game since Dec. 16.
• Rajon Rondo is getting back to normal as he registered 18 points and 10 assists.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.