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Jazz See Green, Sing Blues: Celtics 107, Jazz 102

 

ESPN Box ScoreSalt City Hoops SLC Dunk

Krstic got elbowed in the face in the first half and in the second, he sported this sweet beat up nose. Who says he's not tough? Oh yeah, everyone...

Now that we got those terrible puns out of the way, how about that game, eh?  The Celtics went into a hostile environment in Utah (always a tough place to play)  and used everything they had to edge out the Jazz.  This game was perfect for Celtic and NBA basketball fans alike.  It had lead changes, drama, near-fisticuffs, referee berating, and two opposing players duking it out.

Al Jefferson and Ray Allen found themselves in a sorta head-to-head matchup as they helped their respective teams trade baskets until the final horn blew.  Jefferson dominated the paint tonight, finishing the game with 28 points and 19 boards.  It’s really too bad Jefferson and Kevin Love couldn’t co-exist in Minnesota; there just aren’t enough rebounds in an NBA season for the both of them.

Jefferson was so dominant tonight, you almost caught yourself saying, “what if?”…That is, until your eye caught Kevin Garnett and you remembered his words of wisdom, “anything is possible.”  Yeah.  Utah can have Big Al.

On the other side, Ray Allen had it going on tonight.  He was really everywhere, doing things that Celtics fans are not used to seeing him do.  I’m talking about coming off ball screens and taking heavily contested three pointers, pulling up in transition after running full speed without any Celtics underneath for offensive rebound insurance, and playing the passing lanes with Rondo-like efficiency.  Overall, Allen scored 25 points on 5-of-8 shooting from distance and had 2 steals to boot.

Every starter tonight (Nenad Krstic included) showed something that made you think that this team is the favorite to reach the finals.  Both Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett had double-doubles (Garnett’s third straight), Paul Pierce dominated the second quarter, scoring 16 of his 21 points in the period and single-handily keeping the Celtics in the game after an underwhelming performance from the bench.  Krstic may not have had the individually impressive game he had against the Clippers but he was just as effective, if not more so.  Kurly finished the game with 11 points and 5 rebounds despite not having the touch from the outside.

* * *

It was trench warfare in Utah last night.  Despite both teams enjoying double digit scoring runs in the early going, when this game got close in the second, it stayed close throughout.  The starters built a comfortable lead by the end of the first and then, as customary, the Celtics’ bench entered the game and quickly let that lead dissipate.

It’s not their fault.  The Celtics’ bench is grossly incomplete right now.  Mainstays like Delonte West, Shaquille O’Neal, and Jermaine O’Neal are out right now which means the Celtics need to rely on rookies Avery Bradley and Chris Johnson to provide quality minutes book-ending the lineup.  Bradley’s performance was passable, but Johnson proved too thin for the Jazz’ bulky front court and got pushed around too much, eliminating any consideration for more playing time.

After the bench came in and made it close again, the starters could not build the lead back up.  By the time they got their chance to try, the Jazz had hit their stride offensively.  The Celtics expended a ton of energy on the defensive end at the start of the third quarter.  The plan was to wear down the Jazz with the Celtics’ suffocating D and then running their offense on the other end.  The Celtics quickly realized that using all of their energy on one end of the court caused their offense to sputter.  So, they switched it up.  Slacked a little on D, and started getting easy baskets.

Stupid equilibrium!

Although not always an exact science, last night the Celtics were able to ramp up their offensive intensity by sacrificing some on the defensive end.  This translated to effectively trading baskets with the Jazz until the fourth quarter.  Until Ray Allen went from playing awesomely, to flat out unconscious.  Here’s Ray after one particular play in which he dribbled right off of a KG ball screen and just pulled up for a three right in Paul Milsap’s face.  On his way up the court, he destroyed Milsap with what I can only guess is the look he gives his kids when he wants them to feel contrite:

"I'm sorry Daddy!"

Ultimately, the Celtics were the beneficiaries of a few swings of momentum that allowed them to win this game.  The moment in the forefront of everyone’s mind is the non-call foul on KG (Garnett absolutely hacks Andrei Kirilenko on the arm) which led to a pull up transition three from Allen.  Not only was this three points and a difficult shot, but also completely heart-removing for the Jazz.

Even with these favorable Celtic momentum shifts, the Jazz stayed in the game, stayed engaged, and made the Celtics play until the final buzzer.  When it was all said and done, the Celtics hit their freethrows and defeated the Jazz.

Notes:

  • Glen Davis. Oi! Davis had a rough night on both sides of the ball.  His defensive lapses (fouling, and getting outrebounded) were forgivable considering how many minutes he has been playing lately.  Tonight, he played 27 minutes and looked completely gassed for much of his time on the court.  The less forgivable aspects of his performance was his shooting (2 for 8 ) from the field and his ineffective one-on-one back downs in the post.  Everyone has a bad shooting night from time to time, but Davis looked especially off and caused pleas from the peanut gallery to pass it up– even when he was wide open.  The post back-downs are another, sadder story.  These plays are really a product of the depleted Celtic bench.  Yeeshh!  The bench offense eventually devovled into Glen Davis and Jeff Green one-on-one moves and that needs to change.  The bench desperately needs a practice.
  • Devin Harris is really fast.  Do you remember him going coast-to-coast like that when he played for the Nets?  I sure don’t.  I remember lame pull up jumpers at the elbow and a lot of complaining.  His time in New Jersey made me think this guy was actually a better basketball player than Harris.
  • Jazz fans are awesome. Check out this video of one fan mimicking KG after a perceived flop:

    See the upper right hand corner? Priceless.

    And here’s a montage of hilarious Jazz fans who just happen to have the best second half seats in the house:

    *

    *

    *

    Seriously, if these guys have season tickets, they could have an entire blog dedicated to them.  Also, got to love the Nenad Krstic support from the man in the middle.

  • I like Paul Milsap because I think he’s an underrated/over-producing player, but I have to point out that every single time he curls to the basket a defender could draw an offensive foul. Now all a Jazz opponent needs is a guy who wants to shorten his career by standing in the way of Paul Milsap.
  • I’ll finish this up with an awesome picture. You create the caption:
    • Paul

      Great win for C's tonight…time for the boys to get home and catch their breath after this road trip!

    • kricky

      good win. But what is going on with BBD? Three bad games in a row.

      • Mike

        I agree and this time was on the defensive end too. If they got Jeff Green why not go with him or with Krstic that actually would have matched up better with big Al.

      • James Patrick

        He misses Donkey! lol

    • OKCeltics

      BBD needs to learn that if the outside shot isn't working, focus on doing something else, i.e. rebound, play defense, post up, assists, etc. Goodness.

      • talesofJP

        he should always attempt to focus on rebounding. He has a big enough body where that should be priority number 1. Baby has all too often looked for his own offense in this system, where no one looks for their own offense. He's having a great year, but he needs to rebound better if he really wants to help the team. With Green and other bench players who will get healthy, he doesn't need to be the bench scorer.

    • nbsmatambo

      lol @ "near-fisticuffs"

    • Jeremy

      Its one of those games we realize how much Ray means to us. I'm still waiting for Green to show us something. Until he produces productive minutes, I'm not gonna be convinced trading Perks was the best idea.

    • James Patrick

      Green's not showing much. He looks timid as oppose to Krstic who's definitely stating a case for himself. Wouldn't that be something if at the end of the season Green was a wash and Krstic is the guy who helps us get back to the finals?

      • Tom W

        Let's give Green a little time to acclimate. He's a young guy playing for a completely new team trying to find a completely new role. Even Doc admits he isn't 100% sure how to play him.

        But that certainly would be ironic. Krstic has looked good. :)

    • Far East Man

      i'm sorry but i just cringe whenever rondo shoots those long jumpers, especially so early in the shot clock. ugh! go celts

    • Zee

      NEWS: Green, Davis will compete for crunch-time minutes
      http://www.csnne.com/03/01/11/Green-Davis-will-co

      • Zee

        "Jeff is probably one of the most versatile guys I've been around," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's … it just looks like … he does a lot of things that, he just makes it look simple. I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad he's an addition to our team."

    • Nate

      Fun game but what was the deal with Milsap getting all those "Kobe Calls?"

    • aaron

      if anyone w/ any influence sees this, please tell bbd to stop, just stop it all, don't get faked out every time, don't try to post up when you can't, don't go to the line and look like you need an oxygen tank, and i don't think i've ever seen any one box out for a rebound off a missed free throw not facing the rim?
      he couldn't get out of his own way, and is playing nowhere near the way he did in the first half o the year.
      still gonna need him, and need him to be better than that.

      o and man, the rims in utah have got to be the luckiest anywhere, so many crap shots that went in.

    • CG12

      Devin Harris is crazy fast. There were a number of plays where he just ran by the entire Cs defense for a layup.

      One of my favorite sub-plots for this game was Ray v. Raja Bell. They were engaging in hand-to-hand combat off the ball early in the game. You will rarely see so much clutching, pushing, grabbing, and holding. And Ray game him the business by draining 3 straight 3s on him. I just loved that.

      You can see pretty clearly what Krstic will bring to the table. He is big, relatively active, can pass, and can shoot. He will be a very serviceable starting center, and a phenomenal back-up center. Green is still finding his way. Once he soaks up some of the Cs mojo, he will get his identity and make valuable contributions. I am liking the trade, as sad as I was to see Perk go.

    • Mark

      With D West and the O'Neal bros healthy for the playoffs plus the addition of the two below, I know the Celtics can bring home #18…Does anyone agree?

      - Samuel Dalembert
      - Corey Brewer

      GO GREEN!!!

    • talesofJP

      Perkins signed an extension with the Thunder. So much for being sad about getting traded there. This will hurt especially if it is for the same 4 years $22 million that we offered him. I'm already liking the trade more

    • Batman

      No mention of Rondo's elbow jumper dagger?

    • jim

      I cringe everytime I see BBD because he is not playing well.Besides taking charges he has been a huge liability as of late. I would much rather see Kristic in the game during crunch time. Kristic is starting to make me like this trade.

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