BOSTON — The Utah Jazz lost to the Boston Celtics, 125-97, on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
As has been the case before, there aren’t enough good things from this game from the Jazz’s stand point to warrant a “High Notes” section. So, buckle up and get ready for a lot of not great things.
- The Celtics started out the night hitting every single one of their first 10 shots, including going 6-of-6 from 3-point range. That flurry consisted of some seriously crazy shots — contested 3s, one-legged fading midrange jumpers, buzzer beaters. There’s not a lot you can do when the other team is shooting 100% from the floor and hitting even the tougher shots that you’re giving them.
“They hit everything and that’s cool. But we just didn’t match their energy level. We deserved to get beat at that point.” — Donovan Mitchell
- What you can do when the other team has that kind of a start, is continue to defend in the right way and make things hard on the Celtics when they finally come back down to Earth and miss some shots. But the Jazz weren’t able to do that and instead allowed some pretty horrible offensive rebounds on the Celtics’ rare misses, which the Celtics then converted on for second-chance points. You might look at a box score and notice that the Jazz’s offensive rebound and second-chance point numbers are larger than that of the Celtics, but do not be deceived. The Celtics did not miss a lot of shots, meaning fewer rebounds. Even so, the Jazz had 17 second-chance points but had 17 second-chance opportunities so they could have had at least 34 second-chance points but only ended up scoring on seven of those chances. The Celtics on the other hand had nearly as many second-chance points (14) but only had nine second-chance opportunities.
- Drive and kick and drive and kick and drive and kick works if eventually someone is going to be open after a kick and they take the shot. But, when you just continually drive into traffic and there doesn’t seem to ever be a plan to shoot the ball, it’s going to probably lead to turnovers and contested shots. The Jazz did a lot of that.
- I think that we’re getting to the point that we might actually have to talk about playing Nickeil Alexander-Walker over Trent Forrest. I think that Forrest has been excellent for the Jazz when they have been in need and he stepped up when they didn’t have other options last season with both Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley injured and then he has provided some much needed relief this season as a third ballhandler, but the Jazz have developed and turned to Forrest because they didn’t have many other options, if any. But now they have two guys waiting in the wings in Alexander-Walker and Jared Butler who could probably develop on the defensive end pretty quickly and they have reliable shots. Forrest not demanding any respect and having gravity on the offensive end is creating some real spacing problems for the Jazz. When he is in the game and against tough opponents, it starts to look really bad.
- Mitchell finished the night with 37 points but was also a huge part of the ball sticking. I think it’s possible to look at the fact that the Jazz did not have Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr., and that they didn’t get much help from Jordan Clarkson or Rudy Gay or Eric Paschall, but it has to start with the guys that are initiating the offense like Mitchell and Mike Conley and those guys didn’t seem to be willing to do the work necessary to beat the Celtics.
- The Jazz knew what they were going to need to do before this game ever started; they talked about it at length after their loss to the Nets on Monday night. The Jazz needed to make quick decisions and rely on their ball movement and defense as much as ever, especially against the Celtics, the best defensive team in the league, who also have a top-four offense since the All-Star break. But did we see a lot of ball movement? No. The Jazz finished the game with 13 assists. For some context, Marcus Smart had nine assists at the end of the first quarter. Did we see quick decisions? No. The Jazz stalled and played in isolation and overpassed and got caught in traffic over and over and over again. Did we see a step up on the defensive end when the Celtics finally started missing shots? Nope.
“We weren’t committed tonight to playing in the way that we need to play, really on both ends.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
- I just can’t really get over the idea that the Jazz talked so much about ball movement being a key to defeating a rangy and tough defense like the Celtics and then as the Celtics were racking up their 37 assists, the Jazz just dribbled the air out of the ball and continued to get into isolation situations where they were overwhelmed by the Celtics’ size.