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Game Thread/Preview - Boston Celtics @ Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz vs Boston Celtics

The Celtics were riding high to start the season but stumbled a bit in January to a sub-.500 record for that month. February was a bit better but for January and February, they were .500 team. That's not the Celtics that we've known over the past couple of years.

They've turned it around in March going 10-3 on the month so far and on a modest four-game winning streak. That modest streak though has included a win at Houston and a win at Dallas. As Celtic's Blog points out, they have the second-best road record in the league so tonight is going to be one of the toughest games left on the season.

The Celtics have All-stars everywhere you look in Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo. Despite what everyone might say about this team getting older and not looking like the dominating Celtics we've known over the past couple seasons, they're still the top defensive team in the league. They're not intimidated by raucous crowds and road trips.

We'll see if the Jazz start settling on jumpers early because Boston is plugging the middle on D. I know we don't like it when the Jazz take jumpers early like that, but in this case they might not have a choice. They're going to have to open up the middle for Boozer to work. I think Boston will make them hit a couple of long jumpers before coming out of the paint.

We're going to have to see a lot of patience on Utah's part with the offense. The Celtics aren't going to give them much and they're going to have to be very efficient with their shot selection.

The Jazz have been do or die lately when it comes to the three. Unfortunately, they've been mostly dead. After tearing it up for 6 of 8 games from the arc, the Jazz are 8 for their last 42. You don't have to do the math to know that's not good. Hopefully we see the uptick tonight.

Tonight's a huge night for the Jazz and not just this game. Dallas is at New Orleans (where Chris Paul could return), Spurs visit the OKC, and the Suns head to Golden State. What's the over/under on points scored in that game? 250? 275? 300? Now because they're suppose to score a lot, we'll probably see an 85-83 game.

Huge night for the Jazz obviously. They could end up anywhere from 1/2 game back of Dallas or fall to 5th. If the Jazz are going to have a chance at catching the Nuggets, they need this game tonight.

The Jazz will be without AK who still has some tenderness in his calf. Memo returns from his stomach problems and will give it a go. Hasn't he done well after returns? Everyone else will be a go. I don't know if the KOOF will be active tonight after getting the callup from Orem; I'm guessing no.

I think the biggest key tonight will be the fast-break points. I don't see Boston giving up too many offensive boards, so they're going to be pushing it a lot. The Jazz on the other hand thrive when they're active on D and can get out and run. So my non-sponsored prediction of the night will be whoever wins the fast-break point total will take tonight's game.

Finally, I'll be heading to the ESA tonight in what should be a huge crowd. There weren't many tickets left for sale tonight and the online ticket sites were selling pretty quick. Looking forward to a rockin' ESA tonight.

I know some have shunned twitter, but that's where I'll be posting my updates from tonight. I've embedded a widget here so that you can dollow along without having to do anything then scroll up from time to time.

Should be a great game tonight. Behave!