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"You Can't Simulate That" | Five Things To Know Following Utah's Victory Over Boston

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

With Utah known for having one of the loudest and most passionate fan bases in the NBA, Saturday night at Vivint Arena was an epic battle between the Jazz and Celtics respective fan bases.

With each fan base exchanging chants throughout the arena, Jazz Nation got the last say. Riding the energy from the crowd, Utah ended the game on a 10-3 run to pick up the 118-117 victory over Boston.

"That's a really good team who we have a lot of respect for," Hardy said. "It was a really good environment tonight in our building. … I thought our fans were fantastic. Very proud of our team, that's a really good win against a very good team. Again, sticking with it the entire game after being down 19 early. … We adjusted, and the guys continued to battle."

Here are five things to know following the win.

1.) Another Close Game
Saturday night was so special because it wasn't one star carrying the team. All five starters made clutch plays over the final few minutes, helping lead to the win.

Trailing by six with 2:31 to go, Lauri Markkanen kickstarted the comeback with a pair of free throws. Ochai Agbaji hit a big three to make it a one-point game, but Jaylen Brown responded for Boston with a three. Markkanen again was the answer for the Jazz, knocking down a three to make it a one-point game with 1:11 remaining.

After getting a stop defense, Talen Horton-Tucker scored the game-winner with a layup with 35 seconds remaining. The Jazz got another stop, but Horton Tucker turned the ball over with five seconds remaining, giving Boston one last chance. The Celtics got the ball to Grant Williams at the post, and after getting around Markkanen, his shot was blocked by Walker Kessler, sealing the comeback win for the Jazz.

"You can't simulate that," Hardy said of playing in the clutch. "That stuff is so big for the growth of our team and our young players. To be in the moment and be responsible for executing to try and win the game, that's important for us. It's also really important for us moving forward. … For our guys to battle and be in that close game is great experience for us. It's great to get the win."

2.) Markkanen Thrives In The Fourth
Few teams in the league are better equipped to deal with Markkanen's impressive skillset than Boston — which meant that Markkanen knew it would be tough for him on Saturday night. The Celtics were equipped to throw multiple individual defenders at him, all while playing excellent team defense using their length to make life difficult.

Although it wasn't easy, Markkanen showed why he's considered a legitimate All-NBA candidate when he finished with his 27th double-double of the season. He finished with a game-high 28 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.

While buckets were hard to come by, Markkanen saved his best for last when he dropped 12 points and three rebounds in the final eight minutes. He shot 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from deep during that span.

3.) Agbaji Shows Growth
With so many players making big plays at the end, Agbaji's three in the final minutes showed how much his game has grown. Coming off a dribble handoff with Kelly Olynyk, the rookie rose from beyond the arc and calmly drilled the deep three.

While that shot itself was Agbaji's fourth three of the night, the fact that he never hesitated and took the shot impressed Hardy. He finished with 16 points and three rebounds, shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. He also was great defensively, helping limit Boston star Jayson Tatum to just 15 points on 4-of-12 from the floor.

When asked postgame where he's seen his game grow so much, Agbaji quickly pointed out that he's now playing on instinct rather than being so mechanical. He's much more comfortable with the speed of the game, and it's allowed him to take massive steps forward.

"Just the position I'm in now, I'm not really thinking," he said. "I'm just going out there and paying. … I'm reacting and playing, not really thinking about anything."

"That was the biggest moment for me," Hardy said. "The fact that he took that shot, much less made the shot, that he took that shot is a huge part of growth. I don't think a month ago he even looked at the basket in that situation."

4.) Kessler Is a Goldfish
An analogy that some may not understand, Kessler is a goldfish — and that's an incredible compliment. Coming from the TV show Ted Lasso, it's known that goldfishes have the shortest memory of any animal — which means they never let the past dictate their future.

And that's precisely what Kessler was on Saturday night.

After being fouled while on a fast break dunk attempt, officials ruled the foul a flagrant, which sent Kessler to the line for two shots with the team down two with less than two minutes to go. Instead of cutting into the deficit, he missed both free throws, and the Jazz lost some much-needed momentum.

But Kessler overcame those two misses when he blocked Boston's Grant Williams' shot attempt with three seconds left to secure the win. He finished with his fifth double-double of March, dropping 12 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks.

5.) Five In Double Figures
After already directing just how good Markkanen, Agbaji, and Kessler were on Saturday night, it can't be understated just how special the rest of the starters were.

Horton-Tucker finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, finishing with a +11 rating in 28 minutes. He was particularly effective in the second quarter when he helped Utah climb back into the game after being 19 early.

But the unsung hero of the night had to be Olynyk.

Already referred to as "connective tissue" by Hardy, Olynyk did a little bit of everything against the Celtics. He finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists — but most importantly, he was a +18 rating in 29 minutes.