Tip: 7:30 PM Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Mike Callahan, Eric Dalen and Brian Forte
Get your tickets here: Boston Celtics Tickets
The Celtics beat Utah 94-82 in their lone meeting last season. Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 23 points, 10 rebounds and multiple verbal jabs at Al Jefferson. Boston has won 4 of 5 vs Utah and Jefferson has yet to beat his former team in a Jazz uniform.
Get it to: Rajon Rondo
Prior to writing this preview, I was unaware that Mo Williams is the starting point guard for Utah. Mo Williams = green light for Rajon Rondo. One tiny criticism of Rondo’s game lately – I’d like to see him take better care of the ball, he’s averaging more than 4 TOs in the past 3 games. Jason Terry should get plenty of opportunities too, as Gordon Heyward joins Williams in Utah’s defensively challenged backcourt.
Gotta stop: Paul Milsap
Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger are going to have their hands full with Milsap. Aside from his knack for rebounding, Milsap “beats smaller players on post-ups, takes bigger ones off the dribble and confounds both with his midrange jump shot.” [ESPN Insider] Quite simply put, he’s a tough cover.
The Wild Card: Celtics bigs or small ball?
In addition to Milsap and Jefferson, the Jazz also roll out Enes Kantner (the banger) and Derrick Favors (athletic, shot blocker). Doc Rivers can counter with Darko Milicic and Chris Wilcox, but I’m curious to see if plays big or tries to force Utah to go small.
How we see it goin’ down
By my eyes, the Celtics are playing better. There seems to be better continuity with Bass and Terry in the starting line-up. Doc Rivers may be tempted to start Jared Sullinger to help offset Utah’s low-post presence, but I’m guessing he’s done tinkering for now.
Utah is a solid rebounding team and no slouch defensively (1st in transition defense and 10th in opp. FG%). I picked on Rondo for his turnovers, but the team turned the ball over just 8 times vs Chicago. I realize that’s an unsustainable number, but anything less than 15 is good for this team.
I just don’t see Utah’s guards stopping Rondo, Terry and Lee, whether it be in the half-court or in transition.