BOSTON — For a moment, Gordon Hayward had the shot of the night at the TD Garden.
The Jazz small forward had the ball with under 10 seconds remaining, worked his way to the right elbow and softly released a step-back shot that gave Utah an 84-83 lead over Boston.
Unfortunately for the Jazz, Tyler Zeller made them pay in the final 1.7 seconds with his game-winner at the horn for an 85-84 Boston win.
Bad ending aside, the Jazz’s final offensive play worked to perfection against the Celtics’ zone.
“The main thing is, we got the ball to the right guy,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Hayward. “He drove it, there was plenty of time and he made a heck of a shot.”
Hayward’s bucket capped an 11-2 run, which saw the Jazz turn an 81-73 deficit with two and a half minutes remaining into an 84-83 lead with less than two ticks to go.
“We made a hell of a run to come back, honestly. … We gave ourselves a chance to win it,” Hayward said. “The last play was just me attacking the basket and shooting what was open. Obviously that was wiped away by their shot, so it’s just unfortunate for us.”
QUICK REDEMPTION: Shortly after Hayward’s strong play, Zeller followed with his own heroics thanks to a great inbound pass from Marcus Smart.
The 7-footer Zeller got a chance to redeem himself after Hayward made his shot over his outstretched arm.
“I just wanted to make sure it was good,” Zeller said of his first NBA game-winner. “That’s really all I wanted to know. … It’s a great feeling, especially at the other end, Gordon had made the shot on me so being able to come back and make the game-winner is an unbelievable feeling.”
HARD LESSONS: Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the tough loss will prove to be a learning experience for his young team.
Hayward admitted it’s tough to think like that in the immediate aftermath of the disappointing result.
“Not right now, it’s not. I think in the long run it will help us for sure. There’s no doubt being in these situations, having these experiences in our back pocket will serve us well in the future,” Hayward said. “But I thought we could have gotten a stop there at the end and we would have won and we would be a lot happier right now. Unfortunately, that’s not how it went tonight.”
JAZZ NOTES: D-League call-ups Jack Cooley and Bryce Cotton remained with the team Wednesday, but their 10-day contracts expire Thursday. The Jazz will next sign Idaho Stampede power forward Jerrelle Benimon, according to Road2NBA D-League writer Chris Reichert. … Utah has held four straight opponents to 86 points or fewer. … The Jazz will get Thursday off before continuing their four-game road trip in Philadelphia on Friday. ... Rookie Rodney Hood left momentarily after rolling his ankle, but he returned to action. Hood, who's struggled with foot issues all season, said he felt OK after the game.