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First place Utah Jazz remind Boston Celtics who’s boss, 122-108

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Utah beats Boston to win 5th in a row, and 16 of their last 17

Boston Celtics v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The game started off with a relatively slow start for both teams, before Mitchell put in a couple of lay ups to put the Jazz on the board. Jaylen Brown countered with a quick 3-3 from beyond the arc.

The Utah Jazz struggled to keep the score close as the Boston Celtics, as a team, caught fire to shoot 89 % from three in the first quarter, reminiscent of the loss to the Denver Nuggets. The Boston Celtics played pesky defense, switching everything and disrupting the Jazz’s flow. Donovan Mitchell did everything he could to counter and carry the Jazz early.

Enter Jordan Clarkson. It doesn’t really matter if the defense switches because Clarkson doesn’t care who you are. He has been playing like a man possessed this season, ready to devour whoever is guarding him. I’m convinced that JC must really be a Shinigami, necromancer, or a Tasmanian devil. In other other words, JC doesn’t need a switch to get his.

Although, Clarkson was only 2-8 in the half, his willingness to constantly attack keeps the defense on their heels. It allowed him to rack up 4 assists in the half, including a nice drive and dump to Rudy Gobert.

The Jazz were down three after the first quarter, 27-24, a good sign considering how hot Boston was from behind the arc.

Clarkson started the second quarter scoring with an acrobatic turnaround jumper.

Donovan Mitchell looked very poised and in control as the floor general making several nice reads. Overall, he looks like a confident floor general who knows he has a better plan than his opponent does.

Mike Conley sat this one out, continuing to nurse his sore hamstring. But that didn’t prevent him from being Mitchell’s biggest cheerleader.

Joe Ingles hit 3 3s in the half. Bojan Bogdanovic had a quiet half statistically speaking, shooting only 2-6 with no 3s. He did, however, have two monster dunks.

Jazz up at the half 48-47

Mitchell, after a slow start from both teams to start the 3rd, connected on a 4 point play. Mitchell continued to look sharp, scoring a couple more baskets to put the Jazz up ten, 68-58 midway through the quarter.

A nice ally-oop from Ingles to Gobert pushed the Jazz lead to 13 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd.

The Celtics started to make a run, that was (mostly) held at bay by Jordan Clarkson with a 4-point play and another quick 3 to keep the lead at 11 heading into the 4th, 90-79.

The Celtics continued to push the Jazz in the 4th quarter with the Jazz trading shots, but the Celtics were landing them at a higher rate to trim their deficit. Daniel Theis hit another three, his 5th of the game, and Jayson Tatum was imposing his will.

The Jazz took a time-out after the lead is cut to eight. Quin Snyder set Gobetrt up with a nice dunk off the inbounds play, but gave up a layup to Tatum on the other end. And the Celtics kept coming. Donovan Mitchell forgot to block out resulting in a put back, cutting the lead all the way down to 4 with 8 minutes left.

Another good play out of a time-out results in a quick three for Bogdanovic then Mitchell stole the inbounds pass only to give it right back for a Celtics layup. Then, a big three by Ingles put the Jazz up 111-104 with three minutes left.

The Spida did the rest. A three ball by Mitchell made it 115-104. Mitchell followed that by savagely putting his defender on the floor for a step back three and then sealed the win with an ally-oop to Gobert. Mitchell sent one more into Gobert for a dunk to ice the cake.

Jazz win 122-108. Ingles had a season high 24 points. Bogdanovic added 16 points and 8 rebounds.

Game MVP

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

MVP could have easily gone solely to Donovan Mitchell. He was dominant for large stretches tonight and finished with 36 points and 9 assists. At times, Mitchell looks so poised with grace and agility on the floor that he makes what he does look easy. His length and explosion, improved shooting, and overall effectiveness as a floor general have elevated him into super stardom in my opinion.

While the Spida was great tonight, it would be a crime not to reward the Stifle Tower for roaming the paint and dominating the other side of the ball. Rudy finished with 18 points off of 8-9 shooting, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and a game high +18. Make no mistake about it, Rudy was dominant tonight and deserves to be co-MVP of the game.

Parting Thoughts

The Jazz are legit. The sample size is too big not to take them seriously. They are consistently beating teams of all caliber. They are first in the league record wise, and 2nd in +/- with a +8.8.

The Jazz have never had a team with so much balance, where every player buys into their role. Credit must be given to both Justin Zanik, for putting the roster together, and to Quin Snyder for making all of the pieces work. The Jazz roster is incredibly, almost perfectly, constructed to fit Snyder’s system.

I realize many thought the Jazz overpaid Clarkson and Favors. But, I think the Jazz knew exactly what they wanted and they went out and got it.

Jordan Clarkson has easily outplayed his contract value so far. He’s the most dangerous bench scorer in the league this year, and I don’t think it’s even close. JC has been an absolute machine this season.

As for Favors, his highlights, or even his stats for that matter, are not as sexy as Jorrdan Clarkson’s. But, on the other hand, does anyone remember what the Gobert bench minutes were like last season? Tony Bradley? Ed Davis? Even Jeff Green got some play at center early in the season. Favors is maybe the best center off the bench in the entire league. This makes a huge difference for the Jazz, ensuring that there is a high quality big in the game for 48 minutes every night.

I remember growing up, several hundred years ago, when the Jazz had Karl Malone, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan. I thought they would win every game, even if they were down 20+. They were legit, night in and night out for well over a decade. Despite never winning a championship, I feel blessed to have grown up cheering for such a highly competitive team.

It’s nice to feel that way again. Go Jazz!

Poll

How do you imagine Bill Simmons celebrated tonight's Jazz win over the Celtics?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Eating Cheetos with Shaq in the empty studio left over from his cancelled HBO show
    (44 votes)
  • 13%
    Drinking himself into a stupor praying that Larry Bird would walk through the door instead of Kemba Walker
    (32 votes)
  • 9%
    Repenting and begging for forgiveness from Jerry Sloan’s spirit
    (24 votes)
  • 10%
    Taking shots at a dive bar in Charlotte with Gordan Haywood, reminiscing the days of relevance
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    Doing squats at the gym with Cam Newton
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Thinking about how to defend his "Kyrie is better than AI" take
    (8 votes)
  • 21%
    Sobbing endlessly while curled up his Boston Celtics quilt and drying his tears with a Patriots towel
    (51 votes)
  • 15%
    Bill Simmons is dead to me
    (38 votes)
  • 6%
    That name triggers me
    (15 votes)
242 votes total Vote Now