Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
The Roundup—Jazz 107, Celtics 95
Things didn't look promising for the Jazz, who had lost four straight games entering the night—and then lost both Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors to injury early in the game.
But Utah responded in a big way, outworking and out-executing the Celtics en route to a much-needed 107-95 win over one of the NBA's best teams.
Gobert was forced out of the game after only two minutes when Favors fell into his right knee, while Favors lasted only 13 minutes before an elbow from Boston's Jaylen Brown resulted in a laceration and six stitches above his left eye.
"We have a deep team, and other guys had to step up," Jazz forward Jonas Jerebko said after the game. "We were active out there and just played good defense. Overall, we had a lot of energy."
Ricky Rubio led the way with 22 points, while Jerebko, Donovan Mitchell and Rodney Hood scored 17 points each. Mitchell stuggled from the field (6-for-19) but grabbed five rebounds and dished out a game-high nine assists.
Joe Ingles added 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the win for the Jazz (14-15).
Kyrie Irving (33 points on 11-for-25 shooting) and Al Horford (21 points, six rebounds, seven assists) were the only players to score in double figures for the Celtics (24-7).
Jayson Tatum, Boston's standout rookie, scored seven points on 1-for-6 shooting. Tatum's only field goal (a corner three) came with 3:10 left in the game and the Celtics trailing by 15.
Rubio picked a perfect night to snap out of his December shooting slump. Utah's point guard went 1-for-2 to start the game ... and then promptly made his next nine shots—a mix of slashing layups and off-balance runners, with a 3-pointer from the top of the key thrown in for good measure. Rubio scored 20+ points for the first time since November 1, and he added seven rebounds, five assists and a steal in 34 minutes.
Boston went up by eight late in the first quarter after Gobert left the game, but the Jazz turned it around with an 18-5 run to swing the momentum their way. Hood scored scored five points, Burks added a bucket, and Rubio scored on a driving layup in the closing seconds of the first period. Favors put in a layup, Mitchell converted an acrobatic three-point play, and Rubio knocked down a jumper to give the Jazz a 35-30 lead early in the second quarter. The Celtics shot 0-for-18 from the field during that stretch.
The Jazz kept things going in the third quarter, beginning the second half on a 21-11 run. Rubio put in a tough layup and then converted a three-point play, while Jerebko drilled a corner three (off a slick pass from Mitchell) and then banked in a runner in the lane to give the Jazz a 12-point lead. Two more buckets by Rubio, three free throws by Jerebko, and a three-point play by Ekpe Udoh gave Utah a 67-50 lead five minutes into the second half.
Boston cut Utah's lead to seven midway through the fourth quarter, but Alec Burks put in a tough layup and then Mitchell canned back-to-back threes to silence the crowd and push Utah's lead back to 15 with 4:54 left in the game.
The Jazz absolutely owned the glass, outrebounding the Celtics 55-31. Udoh led the Jazz with nine rebounds as seven Utah players grabbed at least five rebounds.
After losing Gobert and Favors to injury, Utah leaned heavily on its reserves—and they delivered. Led by Hood and Jerebko (17 points each) Utah's bench outscored Boston's reserves 50-26. The Celtics' bench shot only 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) from the field.
The Jazz shot 13-for-25 (52.0 percent) from 3-point range, and they were especially hot in the fourth quarter, when they shot 6-for-9 from deep. Ingles (4-for-6), Hood (4-for-7), Jerebko (2-for-3) and Mitchell (2-for-5) each made multiple threes.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"This group's got character, and they're going to compete no matter the circumstances."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Joe Johnson (wrist) returned to the court after missing 21 games. The 16-year veteran finished with three points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. ... The Jazz are now 3-10 on the road, while Boston fell to 13-3 at home. ... Raul Neto (concussion) and Danté Exum (shoulder) did not play for the Jazz. Gordon Hayward (ankle) remained out for the Celtics. ... Utah shot 48.7 percent from the field. Boston shot 40.7 percent.
The Jazz will travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 5:30pm MT.