Game Preview: Jazz at Celtics
While things haven't gone well early on for the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics, one of these proud franchises is certain to grab a victory tonight.
The Celtics are hoping to avert their worst start in 67 years Wednesday night when they host a Utah team trying to avoid dropping its first five games for the first time since 1974-75.
With last year's leading scorers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett now in Brooklyn, the Celtics (0-4) have struggled to find a new identity under rookie coach Brad Stevens.
They're shooting a respectable 45.5 percent from the field, but have made just 17 of 65 (26.2 percent) from 3-point range and rank near the bottom of the league with 87.5 points.
Avery Bradley, Vitor Faverani and Kelly Olynyk have yet to find their stroke, missing a combined 19 of 21 attempts from beyond the arc. Bradley, filling in for injured All-Star Rajon Rondo at point guard, also has committed 15 turnovers.
Boston is averaging a league-worst 21.0 miscues per game after its 21 on Monday helped Memphis erase a six-point deficit with just under nine minutes remaining en route to a 95-88 victory.
That's an area where the Celtics hope to improve as they try to avoid their first 0-5 start since 1946-47.
"Our biggest thing right now is turning the ball over, there's no question about it," said Stevens, who looks to guide Boston to its sixth straight win over Utah. "If we don't do that, we're going to have a better chance of winning."
The Jazz (0-4), among the league's worst with 19.8 turnovers per game, had 21 in a 104-88 loss at Brooklyn on Tuesday. They had lost their first three games by an average of 3.6 points, but trailed the Nets by as many as 26.
Now they'll attempt to avoid the franchise's worst start since dropping their first 11 games 39 years ago when they still played in New Orleans.
"Losing hurts. It should hurt," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It's four straight losses in the first four straight games. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us."
Corbin's club hasn't been able to find a rhythm offensively, shooting 40.4 percent from the floor and 19 of 79 (24.1 percent) from long range while scoring 90.8 per game.
Following his 1-for-7 performance against his former team, Richard Jefferson has gone 11 for 33 from the field and 5 for 18 from 3-point range.
Enes Kanter has been a bright spot, averaging a team-leading 17.8 points and 9.5 rebounds. He scored 21 on 9-of-12 shooting with eight boards but also had seven turnovers in Tuesday's loss.
Gordon Hayward finished with a season-high 22 points against the Nets. He's averaging 19.7 points on 51.3 percent shooting - including 7 of 10 from behind the arc - in his last three games in this matchup.
In the most recent meeting, Bradley had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in Boston's 110-107 overtime win Feb. 25 in Utah.
Jeff Green had six points on 3 of 10 from the field in that contest, but had 22 points Monday to raise his team-best average to 16.8.
The Celtics have won five straight at home against the Jazz, who haven't won in Boston since March 14, 2008.