By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Celtics wrapped up their five-game, eight-day west coast road trip Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz, owners of the best record in the Western Conference. Boston got off to a strong start, led by Jaylen Brown in his return to action after a knee injury. However, Utah was too much for the C’s for most of the second half, and handed Boston a 122-108 loss.
With the defeat, the Celtics finish their Pacific swing 2-3, dropping their season record to 12-11. The struggles have been pronounced on the road, where the team is now 7-8.
Sparked by strong three point shooting, the Celtics jumped out to a quick 20-13 lead. Boston started the game 7-of-8 from deep, with Brown going 3-for-4 from behind the arc in the first eight minutes. Brown finished the quarter with 11 points, but the Jazz played some catch up in the final minutes to make the score 27-24 Celtics after one.
Utah kept things close to start the second quarter, before tying the game at 36 at the 5:00 mark. They’d take the lead a minute later, and get up by as much as six. At what could have been a turning point in the game, the C’s refused to let the Jazz pull away, and went into the half down 48-47.
Coming out of the break, Utah worked quickly to extend their lead. A 21-8 run early in the quarter stretched the Jazz lead to as much as 14 points. Heading into the fourth, the C’s were down 90-79.
The Celtics tried to keep things close in the fourth quarter, but it seemed like every time they got within striking distance, Donovan Mitchell would take control of the game with a few big shots. Boston would get as close as four points with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Utah followed with a 14-4 run to finish the game.
oh god. Donovan Mitchell. ‘night. pic.twitter.com/UTiWLkKw9Q— Wobovan Mitchell (@WorldWideWob) February 10, 2021
Brown showed no signs of rust, leading the Celtics with 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds. Jayson Tatum (23 points) and Daniel Theis (15 points) were the only other members of the team to score in double digits. It was another tough night for Kemba Walker, who had seven points on 2-of-12 shooting, although he did also have seven assists.
For Utah, Mitchell had a game-high 36 points and was an assist away from a double-double. Joe Ingles also proved to be a problem for the Celtics. He scored 24 points and got to the free throw line 10 times, going 9-of-10 from the stripe. Rudy Gobert turned in an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double with three blocks.
Now done with their west coast trip, the Celtics begin a stretch where they play five of their next six games at home. The C’s return to TD Garden on Thursday to host the Raptors, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 7:00 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com