By Tristan Deschenes, 98.5 The Sports Hub
The Celtics just didn’t have the firepower to overcome the Utah Jazz on Friday, as they fell 99-94 at TD Garden. After Boston’s win in Salt Lake City nine days ago, Friday’s game played out much differently.
Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell dueled in their last matchup, with Tatum scoring 33 points to Mitchell’s 37. Both struggled in this one, with Tatum scoring 18 points and Mitchell barely reaching double-digits with 11. Tatum shot 36.8 percent from the field while Mitchell shot an abysmal 20 percent (3-for-15).
With Tatum and Kemba Walker both struggling, the injured Celtics just could not score. The Green shot only 37 percent from the field and 26 percent from long range. The Jazz hit 45 percent of their shots. Despite Mitchell’s poor shooting, Utah drained 17 three-pointers as a team.
Veteran point guard Mike Conley gave the Jazz a retro performance. He scored seven of his 25 points in the final five and a half minutes, which helped keep the Celtics from mounting a comeback.
The C’s jumped out to an early 27-16 lead in the first quarter. However, the league’s best three-point shooting team simply shot themselves back into it. The Jazz used a 14-2 run to cap off the first quarter and took a 30-29 lead at the end of the first.
Utah created separation from the C’s in the second quarter, outscoring Boston 32-20 in the frame. The Jazz used the three ball to get out to a double-digit lead. Utah knocked down 13 of their 17 three pointers in the first half and they controlled the game the rest of the way.
Marcus Smart led the way for Boston with 29 points, but on 9-of-23 shooting (39.1 percent). Walker still did not look right, scoring only 13 on 5-of-17 from the field.
The C’s had a chance to clinch a playoff berth on Friday, but that will have to wait.
Up Next: Boston will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.