Both the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics were 0-4 entering Wednesday’s tilt, so something was going to give by the end of the night. Unfortunately for the Jazz, a late run was not enough to offset Boston’s energetic run that spanned the second and third quarters. The Celtics registered a 97-87 win, keeping Utah winless this season.
The Jazz started out with tremendous energy and effort, sprinting out to a 16-3 lead early on. But an NBA game is not a sprint but a marathon. Boston did not flinch, finishing out the first quarter strongly and by midway through the third quarter, had gone on a dominating 60-22 run that gave Boston a 25-point cushion. Utah valiantly fought back, cutting the deficit to six points in the fourth. It was simply a matter of too little, too late, and the Celtics did just enough to seal the victory.
Point guard production: Trey Burke cannot return soon enough. The rookie point guard was one of the main reasons for Jazz fans’ excitement, and his injury was a disappointing setback. Now the on-court production from the point guard position, or lack thereof, is increasing the anticipation for Burke’s return. Veterans Jamaal Tinsley and John Lucas III are trying but have struggled.
The duo combined for just four points and four assists in 33 minutes versus Boston, while committing four turnovers. While Tinsley helped orchestrate the quick start, the offense stagnated severely during the middle quarters. When Utah made its comeback, neither of them were in the game as head coach Tyrone Corbin opted for a three-guard line-up of Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Ian Clark. The result was a motion offense where the ball moved quickly and crisply, getting the Jazz back in contention.
Boston veterans: While young like Utah, the Celtics also have some cagey veterans who proved integral toward their win. Guys like Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace made the difference for Boston. Bass’ midrange game squelched the Jazz’s run in the fourth as he repeatedly and calmly drained jumpers. He finished with 20 points. His frontcourt mate, Green, was big during the huge Boston swing, scoring his 18 points on an array of perimeter shooting and slashing to the hoop. Lastly, former All-Star Wallace was spry en route to a nine-point, nine-rebound outing.
Strong individual performances: There were some definite positives for Utah despite the loss. Hayward had his best performance of the season. He was decisive and aggressive on offense, connecting on 12 of 20 shots. The swingman finished with a game-high 28 points, along with nine rebounds and five assists.
Enes Kanter, the Jazz’s leading scorer entering the game, had 22 points and eight rebounds. He started and finished the game well, scoring on some easy interior opportunities. Derrick Favors had 14 rebounds and three blocked shots but was not on the court for much of the fourth quarter.
Finishing thoughts: Undrafted center Vitor Faverini not only made the Boston roster but became the surprising starter and has produced, averaging 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per outing. He showed his inexperience, though, against Utah’s bigs. He went 0-4 during a difficult six-minute run to open the game. He did not return the rest of the night.
Utah’s turnovers again factored heavily in its loss. The Jazz had 20 miscues.
The Jazz assisted five of their first six field goals but then just nine of their final 31 baskets.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops and Utah Jazz 360. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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