The Boston Celtics looked like a team at the end of a treacherous five-game western conference road trip on Tuesday night. They also ran into the hottest team in the NBA in Utah. The Jazz used a 42-32 third quarter to stretch a one point halftime lead to 11 after three quarters.
While a tired Boston team tried to make a push. It never got closer than 4 in the final quarter as Utah pulled away for a 122-108 victory.
Taking the Celtics glasses off for a moment, the Jazz deserved a ton of the credit for how the final score looked.
Sure, Brad Stevens won’t be happy with the pick-and-roll defense and the attention to shooters at times. Quin Snyder and the Jazz are playing like a team that believes they are contenders. Over the last few weeks, they’ve turned doubters into believers.
The Jazz picked up their league-leading 20th win with a lethal combination of timely threes and interior defense, while outrebounding the Boston Celtics by six.
Rudy Gobert looked like the NBA Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner, altering shots left and right while living up his “Stifle Tower” nickname. The Frenchman finished with 18 points on 8-9 from the field, most of which came off of pick-and-roll slams. He also tacked on a game-high 12 rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell came in as the closer, as he often does for the western conference leaders. The former Louisville star scored or assisted on the final 10 Jazz points, while finishing with a game-high 36 points.
Ingles not only found threes in pick-and-roll but also in transition, including an early dagger to put Utah up 111-104 with 3 minutes left. He finished with 24 key points on the night UFA.
The German fouled out with 5:23 left and the Celtics down 5 in what proved to be a true dagger. With Theis, Boston could stretch Gobert out of the lane and have a fighting chance at the rim. With Tristan Thompson? Not so much.