Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Jazz show no fear against the Celtics, but end result reflects how well the team has fared historically in Boston.
NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 9:
Utah Jazz 93 @ Boston Celtics 99
Like cold Pizza, a really late game recap lets you appreciate and enjoy it that much more.
The Celtics took a 4-0 lead to start the game but then the Jazz went on a 17-6 run to take +7 lead in the first quarter, on the road, against a good team, in a gym we usually lose in. All of these things were amazing and I really felt GREAT at how well things were going. This was shaping up to be a "we're all grown up" game. The Jazz were rolling them in their own gym. And it wasn't because our team was running. No. The Jazz were playing the slowed down, low possession, half court game that the Celtics are known for. And we were beating them at their own game. A large portion of the early Jazz attack was due to Paul Millsap. Ladies and gentlemen, 'Sap was killing the Celtics and getting whatever he wanted; so much so, that the British Government wanted to send him back in time to retake all of Ireland. I felt like he could have a good game against this team and he was making me look smart. But it wasn't just Paul who was doing work. Al Jefferson was playing inspired defense, and Mo Williams went 3/4 to start the game, draining his only three point attempt, and finishing with a +7 in +/- after one.
Doc Rivers made some adjustments and rolled the dice with Leandro Barbosa off the bench early on and his quickness caused a problem for us. Their bench + Kevin Garnett went on a 14-6 run to start the second quarter against 1) the never seen before Jamaal Tinsley / Randy Foye / Gordon Hayward / Enes Kanter / Derrick Favors lineup, and then the 2) cavalry lineup of Mo, Randy, Paul, Derrick, and Big Al. By the time Rajon Rondo returned to the game his bench had got him back the lead. The half ended with a 7-0 run by the Jazz, as our starters beat their starters (minus KG, and with Chris Wilcox instead). We had the lead at halftime. Boston made their run, and our starters were playing unafraid, decisive basketball.
And we had the lead at halftime.
Games are won and lost in the third quarter. And both of these teams were not in a losing mood. The Jazz and Celtics both brought out their starters after halftime and our guts extended their lead for a little bit, but then the Celtics played some crazy defense and went on a 10-2 run. They recaptured the lead and things were getting out of hand. Things were out of hand, I guess, because Rajon Rondo got hurt attempting a layup and had to leave the game. With him out we went on a 7-0 run of our own and took back the lead. Half the quarter was over and both teams were still grinding it out. Tyrone Corbin kept his starters in for the majority of the third quarter here but they were getting tired. On the other side, Doc Rivers was mixing and matching quite a bit as Rondo was hurt and had to go back to the locker room. Brandon Bass was holding it down and Boston went up by 10, and Ty responded with the (again, never seen before) lineup of Mo, Randy, Gordon, Enes, and Derrick and we went on a 5-0 run to cut into the lead -- the two teams held serve until the end of the quarter.
The Jazz were close, but behind, going into the fourth quarter down 3. The Jazz stayed in the game with some timely threes in the third. In fact, had these two teams played this game last season, the game would have been over already. Instead, because we have outside shooters -- they were able to keep us in this. Down three, going into the fourth? This game was super winnable. To start the fourth Doc Rivers went with Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Kevin Garnett. Corbin went with Jamaal Tinsley, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, and Enes Kanter. These two squads (with some mixing and matching) played the majority of the fourth quarter and the Celtics only gained +1 more points on the margin in 7:51 out of a possible 12:00 minutes. During this sequence and Jeff Green had a fierce jam as he drove by Millsap and crushed it on Jefferson (the mixing and matching I mentioned, had him on the court at this point). It was ridiculous enough that guys on the Celtics bench were called for a technical foul as they ran onto the court to celebrate. (Rondo, back from the locker room, was among them hopping on one leg onto the court) Buuuut . . . .
Our starters were killing the Celtics starters all game long. Doc was going to have to bring in his starters again. Rondo, if he does play, would be playing hurt. And we were only down 4 with plenty of time left. We had this. The Jazz went on a 9-4 run to tie the game a 93 all with 1:55 left to play.
KG was fouled, and make only the second one. Boston up 1. Mo Williams then missed a 20 footer, Gordon missed the tip, and KG got the rebound. He missed a 21 footer, Sap got the board. Mo Williams then missed a layup, and KG got the board. They were up 1 with 19 seconds left. Paul Pierce was intentionally fouled and sank both, Boston up 3. Sap misses the layup, Jeff Green got the rebound but traveled with 12 seconds remaining. Jazz still down three they drew something up but Boston is too good. We ended up with a Mo Williams with a 'good look', but he missed. KG got the board, got fouled, and made both free throws. And that was the game.
It looks bad because Mo Williams missed all of his shots after being subbed in for Jamaal at the 7:35 mark of the fourth quarter: 1 layup, 4 jumpers from 20 feet or farther, and 1 technical free throw. That was his first FT miss of the season. Mo owned up to his poor shooting finish. I'm not going to hate on him for wanting to take these big shots. We need a guy to do that, and he started off this game very hot. And it is in a shooter's mentality to continue shooting. That said, I felt like we should have gone inside to Big Al down the stretch. Last season it would have been Devin Harris looking like a deer in the headlights and airballing shots. At least early on this season Mo proved his worth when he's on.
The Celtics escape with a win. But we totally had this game.
- Paul Millsap (PF, 40 mins): 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal
- Al Jefferson (C, 35 mins): 13 points, 50 fg%, 14 rebounds, 3 assists
- Mo Williams (PG, 38 mins): 14 points, 5 assists, 2 threes, 1 rebound
- Derrick Favors (PF/C, 26 mins): 14 points, 9 rebounds, 10/14 FTs, 1 assist, 1 steal
- Gordon Hayward (SG/SF, 31 mins): 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 threes
- Randy Foye (SG, 22 mins): 9 poings, 3-3 FT, 2-3 3pt, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal
Had we won, it would have been Derrick Favors strong, confident, decisive play on offense and defense. He took it right at Kevin Garnett, drawing repeated fouls on the future Hall of Famer. Early on in this game Favors was getting to the line with impunity and dude went 10/14 from the stripe. He had 14 points off of 5 shots. That's amazing. But we lost, and the clear game changer was Mo Williams missing his last 6 shots (one was a FT). If he makes 1 of them it's a different game. Are we likely to see Mo Williams shoot 0/6 in a 6 shot sequence again? No. Would I find it statistically reasonable though? Yes. Does that mean Mo should take less shots? I don't know. I don't want him to get a hitch in his shot or hesitate. A game divorced from how raw this was . . . I don't think he was wrong. He just didn't make shots. If he made one of them it would have been a whole new ball game. If he makes two of his last six shots? We win this.That was the game changing moment for the game though.
Jeff Green's dunk . . . but it was the wrong team, so no video.
The Good News:
We played a great team on their court, and played their style of play, and almost beat them.
The Bad News:
We still lost, and we lost a great opportunity to give Big Al his first win against Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics.
The Jazz are now 1-1 on this four game road trip. Games @ Philly (spoilers: a loss) and @ Washington remain.
Post Game Immediate Reaction Video:
If you missed this somehow . . .