The Utah Jazz have been on a tear of late, coming up with gritty wins over the Miam Heat and Dallas Mavericks, as well as surviving an overtime classic against the Detroit Pistons. But the luck ran out on Friday night as they ran smack into a buzzsaw named the Boston Celtics, losing 126-97
The game was never close, with the Celtics jumping out to an early 10-0 lead, with the Jazz not making their first actual field goal until 7:59 in the first quarter. From there on out, the Jazz only ever really got within about 10 points as the Celtics continued to lay down the hammer, shooting lights out from three. By the time the second quarter started, it looks like it was going to a long night for the crew. And a long night it was.
Jazz down 32 with 7:20 left to go in the 2Q. You're excused if you'd rather do something else with your Friday night.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) January 6, 2024
It was a horrendous shooting night from the Jazz, with them ending the game with 17.6 three point percentage compared to Boston’s 34.7%. The only players that ever really got it going were John Collins (12 points on 5-9 shooting with 11 rebounds) and Lauri Markannen (a team high 17 points). Keyonte George contributed some good minutes off the bench, but continues to struggle with his shot, chipping in a 4-10 split (with 2-7 from three) and an overall of 12 points. Continuing a strong month, Collin Sexton contributed as well, pitching in another 13 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals. To be blunt, nobody on the Utah side looked good for the entirety of this stinker.
Boston, however, looked like a top contender in the Eastern Conference. Jayson Tatum starred and shot the lights out, putting up 30 points with 5 of 9 hit from the three point line.
Jayson Tatum checks out with 4:01 left in the third quarter, likely for the night, with:— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 6, 2024
He did this all in only 25 minutes, while taking only 12 shots. pic.twitter.com/mCShx05rWb
The entire starting lineup hit double-figures in points. Kristaps Porzingis looked great with a solid 19 points on decent shooting. Jrue Holiday played lockdown defense for the majority of the game and Derrick White continued his All-Star level play flying all over the court (though scoring was a bit down for him with only 10 points).
This is the start of another road trip for the Jazz, so let’s hope this was just an off night. It really seems like the team had turned a corner and started to figure some things out, but a night like this always puts things into question again. Was this a sign of things to come (doubt it) or was this a scrappy young team running into a seasoned championship-level roster that was firing on all cylinders? I’d argue that it was a mix of an off night from the Jazz and a very talented and well-coached opponent. Boston may have one of the best starting lineups in the league and the Jazz really do not measure up well against them.
Utah heads off to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers tomorrow night and then end this tough rough trip on Monday against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. This could end up being a very tough stretch for the young team.