Ford Keys to the Game: Jazz 86, Celtics 110
Jazz 86, Celtics 110
Tonight’s game was over before it even started, but there has to be a Key Moment somewhere, right? Although the Celtics led this game from start to finish, there was a short stretch of play that turned Utah’s hope of a comeback into the bitter realization that it just wasn’t happening tonight.
Boston had led by as many as 16 points midway through the second quarter, but Utah trimmed that lead down to nine when Paul Millsap hit a layup with 3:36 remaining in the first half. He was also fouled on the play, giving him an opportunity to cut the lead down to eight.
Utah entered tonight’s game having won 12 games this season in which it trailed by double-digits, including seven in which the Jazz trailed by at least 15 points. That total is already an NBA record for an entire season, so the Jazz clearly possess the ability to stage a dramatic comeback.
When Millsap put his basket home, it seemed as if his team was going to give itself an opportunity to add to that record. However, Boston had a drastically different plan.
The tide began to turn back in the Celtics’ favor when Millsap missed the free throw and Glen Davis grabbed his fifth rebound of the game. At the other end of the court, Rajon Rondo tossed a perfect lob to Kevin Garnett for an alley-oop tip-in to quickly pop the lead back up to 11. That play seemed to spark the C’s to another level, because they dominated from that point on.
Boston suffocated Utah’s offense and did not allow the Jazz to score a single point for the remainder of the half. Meanwhile, at the other end, Garnett rattled off another three consecutive points before Davis hit two free throws. Garnett’s five points in a row, combined with Davis’ makes from the charity stripe, bumped Boston’s lead up to 16 points with 1:25 remaining in the half. Garnett capped off the half’s scoring by swishing in a 17-foot jumper with 52.9 seconds left on the clock to pad Boston’s lead and crush Utah’s hopes.
KG began the run with five straight points in the paint and then finished it with a jumper from the perimeter. It was only fitting, seeing as the C’s knifed Utah’s defense up all night to the tune of 110 points and 55.2 percent shooting. While the C’s bullied the Jazz up in the second half, it was that 9-0 run they put together at the end of the second quarter that put the game away.
Key Box Score Line
Yeah, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce scored 21 and 20 points each, respectively, tonight, but they get their credit here as often as anyone. Tonight, the Key Box Score Line goes to a man many know as Semih Automatic.
Semih Erden, a 7-foot rookie center from Turkey, stepped into tonight’s blowout victory in a big way and stepped on the Jazz’s collective throat in the process. While filling in for an injured Shaquille O’Neal throughout the second half, Erden poured in a career high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. He finished the night with a perfect 5-of-5 performance from the field, and he also made four of his five free throw attempts. He was able to accrue all of these numbers in less than 30 minutes of playing time.
But wasn’t just the numbers that were fantastic. Erden played with energy and brought life to the Garden crowd. He had three thunderous dunks in the fourth quarter alone as the second unit closed out the big win.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston scored at least 25 points in every quarter, while Utah scored 23 or less in every quarter.
- The Celtics shot 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from 3-point range despite Ray Allen making only two of his eight attempts from long distance.
- Boston outscored Utah 44-32 in the paint.
- Both teams grabbed exactly 34 rebounds.
- Kevin Garnett scored a game-high 21 points, followed by Paul Pierce's 20.
- Raja Bell's 32:27 of playing time was a game high.
- The Jazz shot only 40.0 percent from the floor.
- The teams combined to attempt 65 free throws (34 by Utah, 41 by Boston).
- Three players (Glen Davis, Semih Erden and Andrei Kirilenko) tied for the game-high in rebounds with seven apiece.
- In addition to his rebounding, Erden notched career highs of 14 points and three steals.
- Davis scored 15 points to go along with his seven boards off the bench.
- Erden shot 5-of-5 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
- Rajon Rondo recorded a game-high 12 assists.
- Conversely, Deron Williams had only six assists to go along with five points.
- Williams' five points snapped a streak of 48 consecutive games in which he scored in double-figures.
- Three Jazz players (Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward) scored 11 points apiece.
- Earl Watson's 12 points were a team high for Utah.
- The Celtics scored 26 points off of Utah's 21 turnovers.
- Boston led from start to finish, at one point opening up a 25-point cushion.
- No player in the game had more than seven rebounds.
- The two teams' benches combined for 100 points (52 by Boston's, 48 by Utah's).
- Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels were each whistled for a technical foul.
- Boston assisted on 31 of its 37 field goals.
Quote of the Night
Utah head coach Jerry Sloan on Boston's performance: "Well they showed us what basketball is like tonight."