Boston at Utah
9 P.M. ET
Boston: 104.8 points/100 possessions (13th)
Utah: 105.3 points/100 possessions (11th)
Boston: 97.3 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
Utah: 106.3 points allowed/100 possessions (t-19th)
Probable Utah Starters: Devin Harris (PG) Raja Bell (SG) Andrei Kirilenko (SF) Paul Milsap (PF) Al Jefferson (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Salt City Hoops
Thumbnail: Usually, a road date in Utah is a grim prospect for NBA teams. But the Jazz are mired in chaos and change, having lost both coach Jerry Sloan and star point guard Deron Williams over the last two weeks. It’s shown on the court, as the Energy Solutions tenants are 1-6 in their last 7 games, including a weekend loss to the trainwreck Pistons. So, despite the Celtics’ injury du jour – a Delonte West ankle sprain – the Celtics are poised for a victory in the final game of their western road trip.
WHAT THE JAZZ DO WELL/WHAT THE JAZZ DO POORLY:
This is harder to gauge than usual with both a new coach (Ty Corbin) and a new point guard (Harris) calling the shots and rookie big Derrick Favors coming off the bench. A few quick things to watch:
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Jefferson. We’re going to get a look at Nenad Krstic’s post defense tonight as he tries to put the clamps on one of the best post scorers in the league. Don’t expect the second coming of Kendrick Perkins out there, but Krstic was frisky against the Clippers on Saturday as he tried to win over his new teammates. And if his shooting can pull Big Al away from the basket, the Celtics could have some room to operate in the paint as well.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
Harris. I love Deron Williams. Deron Williams is a top flight point guard. Devin Harris is no Deron Williams.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
It’d be nice to see Avery Bradley get some minutes in West’s absence but Doc Rivers has resisted every opportunity to give him extended run. So, we may see long minutes for Rondo and a return of Paul Pierce, Point Forward. Whatever Doc does with the backup 1, it could be instructive as to his intentions if the Celtics don’t sign a buyout guy at the point, and West continues to struggle with his health. In that sense, consider this a potential playoff preview.
An assertive game from Jeff Green would also be more than welcome and *sigh* we’re back to hoping for no new injuries. It’s more than a bit wearying, isn’t it?
A messy display on the defensive end from the Jazz, and more growing pains from Boston (particularly when the Celtics have their makeshift bench in during the second and fourth quarters). Expect Rivers to revert to a Rondo-Allen-Pierce-KG-Davis lineup to bring stability down the stretch.
That should get it done.
Boston 109 Utah 99