Opening up a five-game, eight-day west coast road trip, the Celtics were in Utah Friday night to take on the Jazz. In a back-and-forth shootout, the Jazz came away with a 137-130 win.
The NBA’s top offense proved to be too much for the Celtics, who allowed quarters of 38, 21, 41, and 37 points. Utah shot 55.6 percent from the floor, and was 27-of-51 from three.
The Celtics fell down 14-2 early before calling a timeout. Utah was sloppy at times, turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter allowing for 13 Celtics points, but the Jazz still managed to build a 38-25 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Celtics found some rhythm. They went on a 12-0 run, cutting Utah’s lead to three and forcing the Jazz to take a timeout as their lead shrunk to three.
Coming out of the timeout, Marcus Smart made one of the plays of the year. He raced in from the three point line for a putback poster dunk, getting the Celtics within four.
OH MY GOODNESS MARCUS SMART! pic.twitter.com/yNIdf6KWAD— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 4, 2021
Thanks to a 12-point quarter from Al Horford, the Celtics were able to close the gap to as close as a single point. They ended up heading into halftime down three, 59-56.
It took just two minutes for the Celtics to tie the game in the third quarter. For the remainder of the quarter the teams were rarely separated by more than a possession, and the Jazz led 100-97 heading into the fourth.
The Celtics reached a four point lead with about six minutes to go, but two minutes later Utah was back up one. Donovan Mitchell scored eight straight points, and Utah was back up by four with 2:24 left in the game. That was part of a 13-2 run for Utah that put the game away.
Tatum put up another strong performance in the loss, scoring a game-high 37 points. He was 12-of-25 from the field and added six rebounds and five assists. Other high scorers for the Celtics included Dennis Schroder (26 points), Al Horford (21 points), and Marcus Smart (15 points). Jason Richardson added 11 off the bench.
Mitchell’s late run capped a 34-point game that saw him shoot 12-of-22 from the floor and 6-of-14 from three. Mike Conley contributed 29 points, and Rudy Gobert had an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to 12-10 on the season. They’re now 6-6 away from TD Garden.
This west coast swing for the Celtics continues tomorrow night, when the team heads to Portland to take on the Blazers. That game tips off at 10 p.m., with coverage beginning at 9:30 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 abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.