Biofreeze Keys to the Game: Jazz 123, Celtics 115
The Boston Celtics Friday night nearly staged their second 20-point comeback win over a 24-hour span, while facing the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. That was until an old friend turned foe showed up and stopped their rally short.
The C’s, who had just overcome a 22-point deficit Thursday night in Phoenix, stormed back from 20-down Friday night, coming within four points of the Jazz late in the fourth quarter, only to have their former swingman, Jae Crowder, slam the door in their face.
Boston cut its deficit to four points on five different occasions during the fourth quarter, including at the 5:24 mark when Terry Rozier hit what could have been a momentum-swinging 3-pointer, as he made it a 105-101 ball game. Crowder responded right away, however, with a triple of his own at the other end of the court, putting Utah back up by seven.
Marcus Smart then took his turn from beyond the arc, knocking down a trey to make it a four-point game once again. But the Jazz responded two possessions later with a fast-break dunk by – guess who – Crowder.
Smart would make yet another 3-pointer at the 2:19 mark to bring the C's within four once more, but the Jazz retaliated 24 seconds later on a Rudy Gobert layup, assisted by Crowder, which gave Utah a 113-107 lead.
Boston would pull within five points with under a minute to play, but Crowder buried his fourth 3-pointer of the game at the 28-second mark to hammer the nail into the coffin.
Crowder, who scored 20 points on the night, made or assisted on all six of Utah's field goals during the final eight minutes of regulation, leading his current team to a 123-115 win over his former squad.
Kyrie Irving was absent from Friday night's action due to personal reasons, which placed a bit of extra responsibility on the shoulders of his backups. So, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart each stepped into one of Irving's shoes and delivered.
Rozier started in place of Irving and tallied a team-high 22 points, along with six rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile, Smart's effort off the bench may have been even more impressive.
Smart logged 10 fewer points than Rozier, but his playmaking was a critical part of Boston's fourth-quarter rally.
Smart assisted on three of his teammates' buckets during the final frame, while knocking down a trio of 3-pointers of his own. In all, he helped to create 18 of Boston's 35 points during the final 10-plus minutes of action.
The fifth-year guard finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists, while also notching three rebounds, two steals and a team-high plus/minus rating of plus-10.
His play, along with that of Rozier, certainly helped make up for the absence of Irving, who is expected to rejoin the team in Portland Sunday night for the final game of its road trip.
Box Score Nuggets
- Joe Ingles was the game's high scorer with 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
- Terry Rozier led the C's in scoring with 22 points, and Jayson Tatum was right on his tail with 21.
- Boston shot better than 90 percent from the free-throw line, where it connected on 20-of-22.
- Donovan Mitchell scored 10 of his 21 points from the charity stripe.
- The Celtics corralled just 28 rebounds, while the Jazz pulled down 45.
- Boston attempted 11 more field goals than Utah, but made four fewer.
- Rudy Gobert tallied 15 boards, while no other player in the game notched more than six.
- Jayson Tatum set a career high with five steals.
- Marcus Smart dished out a game-high 10 assists.
- The Jazz were limited to just four fast-break points.
Quote of the Night
It’s part of the game.
Gordon Hayward says with a smile of the boos from his former fanbase.