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Utah Jazz vs Boston Celtics: Game Preview

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After a demoralizing loss, can the Utah Jazz bounce back and beat the Celtics at home?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

To get something out of the way, the season isn’t over. It’s not time to trade everybody (although I think it may be time to trade somebody—but that’s for another post). The Jazz are going to be just fine. Seriously, they’re having their best season since 2006-2007, and they are fun for the casual fan to watch again. That said, that game against the Dallas Mavericks was decidedly painful, and was a game that the Jazz should have won.

Okay? Okay. So, let’s look at a few things to gear up for tonight’s tussle with the Boston Celtics.

Injury Report:

Our team is back within the friendly confines of the Aunt Viv, and (hopefully) ready to lay waste to a Celtics team without Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. In an unusual turn of events, the Jazz are only missing one man: Rodney Hood.

I’m about to make a qualitative statement here: he’s not on the injury report, but something seems off with George Hill. Don’t get me wrong, he’s better than any other point guard on the roster, but I’m not convinced that he’s not still feeling some of the effects of that concussion.

Matchups:

Isaiah Thomas vs. George Hill

Isaiah Thomas is one of the most talked-about players in the league this year, as he should be. He’s an all-star, he’s averaging nearly 30ppg, and he has an ORTG of 113.3. His DRTG, however, is 109.6. Hill, who was out last time these two teams met, is posting 112.2 and 98.0. It will be interesting to see if one can stop the other. Thomas torched the Jazz last game, and Hill should be able to slow him down better than Shelvin was. Still, he’s an offensive firecracker and will be difficult to contain.

EDGE: Celtics

Jaylen Brown vs. ???

I’m guessing that Alec Burks gets the start, but it could very well be Joe Ingles. At any rate, Jaylen Brown is having a forgettable season, in part due to the volume shooting of Thomas.

EDGE: Jazz

Gerald Green vs. Gordon Hayward

Green hasn’t logged many minutes this season, as Jae Crowder has been so durable. He’s not a bad player, but Gordon Hayward eats guys like this for lunch.

EDGE: Jazz

Amir Johnson vs. Derrick Favors

I’d ordinarily give this one to Favors without thinking much about it, but he’s still recovering from that injury. He’s had a pretty good stretch in his last few games, but he’s definitely not back to full strength. Amir Johnson is a tough player, and a reasonably-skilled scorer.

EDGE: Even

Rudy Gobert vs. Al Horford

Al Horford is a talented center, which means that Rudy is going to get up for this game. Not that he doesn’t play to win all the others too, but he really seems to take satisfaction in pushing around the league’s best bigs. Rudy is the best center in the league, so . . .

EDGE: Jazz

Bench:

The Celtics have taken quite a hit with Crowder and Bradley out, so they’re spread rather thinly. I’ll take Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and Dante Exum over Jonas Jerebko, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.

EDGE: Jazz

Final Notes:

I like our chances tonight. On paper the Jazz are better, they’re at home, and they’ll probably be smarting from that loss to the Mavs. Oh, and if you’re going to the game it’s a blue-out, so wear blue!

#TakeNote