Promotional material for tonight’s game: “Jazz-Celtics… because it’s on the schedule and we have no choice”
— John Karalis (@RedsArmy_John) February 25, 2014
John hit the nail on the head with that tweet. Late Celtics-Jazz contest on a Monday night? It may not be the most hyped game of the season, but it’s on the schedule, so it gets a recap.
The game got off to a delayed start, thanks apparently to a basketball breaking the lens off of a camera sitting above one of the hoops during pre-game warm ups. Cool. Alright, let’s do this.
The Celtics, without Jared Sullinger for the second consecutive game, lost 110-98 to the Utah Jazz, and finished the road trip 0-4. Broomsticks. Boston found themselves getting beat in the paint early on by the likes of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Favors won a few battles against Kris Humphries, and snuck in for a put-back dunk not long after. Jeff Green answered by getting to the line four times in the first which was nice to see, but the scoring was missing from most of our guys, and the Jazz closed out the quarter with a 27-18 lead. It looked like the team was exhausted, maybe from the travel and/or late starts out West.
The second quarter got off to an unpromising start: the Celtics turned the ball over a few times, Chris Johnson had a corner three rejected, Gordon Hayward threw down an alley-oop, etc. The offense started picking up before all was lost, thanks largely to Kelly Olynyk — who had nine points (4-4 from the field) and four rebounds in only 10 first-half minutes. It was a good sign to see Olynyk having success playing alongside Rondo. Kelly’s best scoring nights have come mostly when playing alongside Phil Pressey, which makes sense since they’re both bench guys. However, if Olynyk is headed towards becoming a serious part of the team’s core, now’s a great time to start building chemistry between him and Rondo.
Even with Olynyk’s output, the Utah Jazz (one of the worst scoring team in the NBA, found no problems scoring the ball), taking a 59-46 lead into halftime. Favors led all scorers with 15 points (7-8 from the field), and Jeff Green led the C’s with 14 points (5-10). For fans who are still banking on a Gordon Hayward-Brad Stevens reunion come this summer, you’ll be happy to know he matched Rondo for first-half assists with six, scoring six as well.
What had originally thought to have been Richard Jefferson’s fossilized corpse later turned out to be a breathing, walking, scoring Richard Jefferson. The dude was everywhere. At age 33, and after scoring just three points a game last year in Golden State, he’s seemed to have revived his career with the Jazz. Just as I finished this paragraph, he grabbed his own rebound and threw down a dunk over Kris Humphries, so yeah — still alive. On Twitter, KWAPT mentioned that he still looks 21; must be drinking that Pharrell formula. Jefferson finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
The Celtics hovered around most of the second half, never letting the game out of reach, never closing the gap.
Olynyk and Green continued to carry most of the scoring burden, with some good help from Rondo (18 points, 10 assists). With around three minutes left in the fourth, and down by nine, the C’s showed a little glimmer of hope, but a Derrick Favors and-one sealed the deal with about 90 seconds left. Final 110-98.
Unfortunate road trip note: The Celtics allowed at least 100 points in each of the four road games. Reached 100 in none.
- Kelly Olynyk: 21 points (8-11 shooting), eight rebounds, four assists.
- Jeff Green missed a few, but had a good offensive night overall: 21 points on 7-16 shooting.
- Rondo had a double-double (18,10), but also had five turnovers.
- 2-11 from the field for Brandon Bass.
- The C’s were out-assisted 25-16.
- Derrick favors shot 8-9 from the field (20 points), torching the C’s in the paint.
Red Corner, Kris Humphries; Blue Corner, Kelly Olynyk
Rondo to Green alley-oop
- The Jazz had six blocks at halftime.
- The C’s committed 14 turnovers, the Jazz committed 12.
- Utah edged out Boston in rebounding, 38-31.
The C’s now head back to Boston for a five game home stand. Only one of those games (Pistons) is against a non-playoff team. Tank train keep on rollin’ (silver lining: Joel Embiid scored 12 points on five shots and had 14 rebounds tonight.)