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Instant analysis: Jazz improve to franchise-best 20-5 start with win over Celtics

Utah beat the Boston 122-108 at Vivint Arena on Tuesday night, earning a fifth consecutive win for the Jazz amid the best start to a season in franchise history

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) screams to the crowd as after nailing a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter of the Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) screams to the crowd as after nailing a three-pointer late in the fourth quarter of the Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 122-108 at Vivint Arena on Tuesday night, improving to 20-5 on the season and earning a fifth consecutive win for the Jazz’s best start to a season in franchise history.

High notes

  • Less than nine minutes into the game, Jaylen Brown had already racked up 11 points and the Celtics were leading, and there was a clear vibe from the Jazz that had the mood in the arena light. I don’t know exactly how to explain it other than saying the Jazz looked confident and completely unfazed by what was happening. They were carrying themselves like they knew they were going to win. Honestly, even when the Jazz’s lead was back to single digits in the fourth quarter the Jazz had a swagger about them. It never felt like they were worried.
  • Part of the reason they never looked too worried was because each time the Celtics cut things just a little too close for comfort, Donovan Mitchell made absolutely exquisite plays, pushing in transition, making great passes, chasing down rebounds and hitting absolute daggers.
  • When Mitchell took over for a stretch in the third quarter, in just spectacular fashion on both ends of the floor, the Jazz went up 10 points and Celtics coach Brad Stevens called a timeout. Mitchell circled to the other side of the court and egged on the crowd to keep cheering. Strange that it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen a player be able to do that. The energy was electric.
  • I’m going to stay with Mitchell for a second here because he really deserves a ton of credit for what he did — 36 points, nine assists, four rebounds, two blocks. That’s two straight 36 performances when Shaquille O’Neal is watching from the TNT studio. Just sayin’.

“By any means necessary is pretty much the model that I have. Just find ways to win the game. Everything else will kind of take care of itself.” — Donovan Mitchell

  • There was apparently a block party going on in Vivint on Tuesday. The Jazz finished the night with seven total blocks — the two from Mitchell, three from Rudy Gobert and two from Royce O’Neale.
  • Miye Oni always impresses me, even in his short stints on the floor. He made Jayson Tatum look pretty ineffective when he was guarding him.
  • There’s been a string of games where Bojan Bogdanovic has looked like he was back to normal. He came out against the Celtics and dunked the ball twice in the first half, made great reads and was scoring by attacking when the Celtics were keeping a guy close to him on the perimeter. I’m calling it — Bogey is back.
  • Joe Ingles was a foul-drawing machine and went 9 of 10 from the free-throw line en route to his 24 points, which was much needed with a second straight game without Mike Conley.

“Once we know we’re in the bonus I think you change your mindset a little bit because taking two free throws stops the clock it’s an easy position for us to get a couple points then we go and set our defense. So yeah, once you’re in the bonus. We’d probably still take a 3 rather than getting fouled but it’s just that conscious effort when you know they’re in foul trouble to try to be aggressive and get to the paint and if you’ve got the opportunity to draw one draw it and then we’ll take the free throws.” — Joe Ingles

Low notes

  • I truly hope that Derrick Favors’ face is OK after getting raked by Tristan Thompson early on in the game. He came back and was able to play through, but he looked really shaken up and even had to sub out and go back to the locker room for a while.
  • The Jazz were already shooting free throws less than five minutes into the fourth quarter and Daniel Theis, who had been playing well and had knocked down 5 of 6 from deep, was playing with five fouls and decided to tangle with Gobert for a rebound and fouled out with over five minutes left to play. Probably not a great choice to have Theis out there with five fouls but an even worse idea for Theis to take a loose ball foul when he did and get bounced from the game.
  • There was a point when I was wondering, who is going to help out Brown? Turns out the answer was Jayson Tatum, but it was too late. The Celtics are really missing Marcus Smart and they didn’t get nearly enough from the rest of the team, especially Kemba Walker.

Flat notes

  • Oh, sweet Timelord. Robert Williams III inbounded the ball late in the third quarter but Grant Williams was not paying attention, so when Robert Williams stepped on the court, he tapped the ball toward Grant. Problem is, you can’t be the person inbounding the ball and then also the first person to touch it. Brain fart.
  • During the TNT halftime show Shaq, once again, said something weird. Asked what he thought of Mitchell, Shaq responded, “I never hate, I just try to give constructive criticism. My whole career I’ve been a leader and motivate my players a certain way. So, you’re welcome Utah.”