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The Roundup—Conley, Clarkson lead Jazz past Celtics for fourth straight win
Utah's roller coaster of a season continued Friday night as the Jazz traveled to Boston and beat the Celtics 99-94 Friday night.
Since January 25, the Jazz have (in order) won 19 of 21, lost five in a row, won four in a row, lost four in a row, and now won four in a row.
What a ride.
The last three wins came against three of the worst teams in the league—Washington, Cleveland and New York—but tonight's victory over the Celtics, who are currently in the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings, was a much-needed confidence boost for a Utah team that's once again finding its groove on both ends of the floor.
"We're better than we were last week, I can tell you that," Jazz guard Mike Conley said. "We're headed in the right direction, beating a team like this on the road, regardless of who they had in the lineup."
Boston played without starters Gordon Hayward (knee) and Jaylen Brown (hamstring) for the second consecutive game.
"I'm just happy that we played defense," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "We could make a few more shots. I thought we had some really good looks in the second half. I really am more pleased that we didn't play great offense in the second half but were still able to put that energy into our defense and win the game."
The Jazz (40-22) led by 13 at the break after shooting 60.5 percent in the first half, but they shot only 31.0 percent in the final two quarters. Boston, though, was even worse, shooting only 29.2 percent over the final two quarters.
Conley led the Jazz with 25 points, while Jordan Clarkson added 17 points off the bench. Donovan Mitchell (11 points on 3-for-15 shooting) was the only other Utah player to score in double figures, though all nine players who took the court scored at least six points.
"The game's back to being easy again," Conley said. "Making the right plays, playing off of each other. Guys have really been unselfish. It's easy to play that style, and it's fun to be around."
Marcus Smart scored a game-high 29 points for the Celtics (42-20), who have lost three of their last four games. Jayson Tatum added 18 points, while Kemba Walker pitched in 13 points in the loss.
Friday's Best: Mike Conley
The veteran point guard had perhaps his best game since joining the Jazz eight months ago, finishing with 25 points, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes. Conley shot 9-for-16 from the field, including 6-for-10 from beyond the arc, and he was Utah's most consistent player, scoring nine points in the first quarter, six in the second, three in the third, and seven in the fourth—all in a three-minute span that helped the Jazz seal the victory.
Boston took a quick double-digit lead, but Utah closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run to get back in the game. Conley found Tony Bradley for an alley-oop layup, and then Georges Niang scored two straight buckets. Conley converted a circus shot for a three-point play, and Clarkson put in a transition layup after a steal by Joe Ingles.
The second period belonged to the Jazz, who made four threes—one each by Clarkson and Niang, and two by Ingles—to take a 47-37 lead. Back-to-back buckets by Bradley, a three by Royce O'Neale, an alley-oop dunk by Gobert, and another triple by Conley put Utah up by 16.
Rudy at the— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 7, 2020
Utah held onto a double-digit lead for much of the second half, but Boston tightened it up at the end with a 7-0 run in the final two minutes. The Celtics, though, missed four straight 3-pointers—including a wide-open air ball by Brad Wanamaker—as the Jazz held on for the win.
The Celtics had scored at least 110 points in 10 straight home games, but Utah held them to only 94 points on only 37.2 percent shooting.
Utah got a huge boost from its bench as Clarkson (17 points on 7-for-13 shooting) and Ingles (nine points, seven rebounds, six assists) led the Jazz to a 39-13 advantage in bench points.
The Jazz shot 17-for-45 (37.8 percent) from beyond the arc, including 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) in the first half. Conley (6-for-10), Ingles (3-for-6), Mitchell (3-for-10) and O'Neale (2-for-6) each made multiple threes.
The Jazz have won three straight games at Boston's TD Garden. ... O'Neale has made at least one 3-pointer in 14 straight games. ... Mitchell (third quarter) and Smart (fourth quarter) each picked up a technical foul. ... The teams split their season series 1-1. ... Boston outscored Utah 42-30 in the paint and 18-6 in transition. ... The Jazz currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, half a game ahead of the Houston Rockets.
The Jazz will conclude their four-game road trip Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons. Tipoff is set for 5:00pm MT.