The Jazz needed a bounce-back game after their sloppy performance in Washington. The make-up game saw the Jazz turn the ball over a season-high 23 times. You could chalk it up to All Star rust, but regardless, the Jazz didn’t want to come out of the break that way. After winning eight of ten before the All Star weekend, the Jazz looked much better than they showed against Washington. They especially couldn’t afford to lose a their third game in a row. The Jazz have a difficult road game in Portland coming up next. The Blazers beat the Warriors 137-105 on Friday night. Damian Lillard had 51 points. Utah has already been destroyed in Portland this year. The Jazz face Houston and San Antonio in the two games after that. It’s their time to show who they are as a team. A poor start out of the gate could cripple their chances of being a playoff team. The bottom of the Western Conference is tightening up, and it’s looking like there will be five teams battling for four spots.
Boston came into Friday night’s game as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Jazz would need a strong performance to beat their Eastern Conference doppelganger. Utah and Boston are two of the most talented young teams in the league, and they’re both very well coached. The Jazz had the edge in Friday’s game, and set a good tone for their playoff push.
With the point guard position being a topic of conversation, and some fans disappointed that the Jazz didn’t make a (big) move, Raul Neto and Trey Burke both looked dialed in. Neto had a good all-around performance with a career-high 15 points. He added 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Trey Burke was very active, hitting some threes in big moments. The active play got both guards got into foul trouble. But the Jazz were able to manage, even without trade deadline pickup Shelvin Mack.
Utah controlled the tempo and style of the game. Utah outscored Boston in every quarter, and the Celtics never scored over 25 points in an individual quarter. One troublesome spot for the Jazz was an early stretch of turnovers. Utah turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter. It looked like there might have been a lingering effect from the previous night’s game, but the Jazz shook it off. They only turned the ball over three times in the second and third quarters combined. The way the Jazz responded as the game went along, especially after the Washington game, showed that their intention is to finish the season strong. Coach Snyder has his team in a good spot. They clearly want to achieve some good things this season.
Utah went on a big run in the third quarter. The Jazz were able to build a 17-point lead and take the energy out of the Celtics. Boston closed the gap a little as the Jazz cooled down, but the victory was never really in doubt for the Jazz in the second half. It was encouraging to see the Jazz play a solid third quarter. They have had some struggles right out of halftime this season. This game showed that they look ready for the challenging schedule in front of them.
The Jazz played a great all-around game in their home debut out of the break. They held the Celtics to 37% field goal shooting. Boston was even worse from beyond the arc, hitting 28%. The Jazz had a good night from the field, shooting 54% overall and 43% from three. Utah was able to find ways to score, getting 44 foul shots. There was room for improvement in that area, as they only shot 61%. Despite missing 17 free throws, the Jazz managed to score well over 100 points. The final score was 111-93.
Quin Snyder Postgame –
Gordon Hayward Postgame (22 points 4 assists 3 rebounds) –
Derrick Favors Postgame (23 points 10 rebounds 6 assists) –
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