Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Celtics 123, Jazz 107: Jayson Tatum leads C's in Utah to close out five-game road trip

The Celtics didn't skip a beat on a second night of a back-to-back, getting past the Utah Jazz 123-107 at the Delta Center Tuesday.

Jayson Tatum was the game's leading scorer with 38 points on 13-of-25 from the field and 4-of-10 from deep, while Derrick White added 24 points and connected on a season-high 7-of-11 from 3-point range to help the C's improve to 51-14 on the season.
"The law of averages, you play so many games you won't be perfect every night. You have to stick with it and trust that you're going to have more good days than bad," said Tatum postgame on his shooting performance to wrap up a five-game road trip.
Jrue Holiday, who returned from a one-game absence, netted 16 points and handed out eight assists and Sam Hauser was 4-of-11 from long distance to chip in 14 points as a starter.

Boston, playing without three rotation players Jaylen Brown (sacroiliac strain), Kristaps Porzingis (hamstring sprain), and Al Horford (toe sprain), concluded their mid-west swing at 3-2.

Rookie Keyonte George had 26 points, six assists, while Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points off the bench and Collin Sexton recorded 20 points and five assists to lead the Jazz without their star Lauri Markkanen (thigh) -- which fell to a 28-37 record.

The Celtics notched 44-first quarter points (tying a season-high), to take a double-digit lead into the second -- despite 14 points from George to open the game.

The Jazz cut a 17-point deficit down to four with 6:07 remaining in the first half, before Boston used an 18-7 run to close the period and take a 72-57 advantage into the break and Tatum had 18 points.

Utah, still hanging around, went on a 16-6 spurt to once again get within four (90-86) with 1:57 left in the third quarter and then eventually to two in the last 36 seconds. 

With the Celtics up 98-91 and Tatum on the bench to start the final frame, the visiting team put away the Jazz by scoring 20 straight unanswered points that concluded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Holiday to give them a 24-point margin (the largest of the night) with 6:28 left to play.

Boston forced 12 consecutive empty possessions by the Jazz during that 20-0 span to take control for good in less than six minutes to begin the fourth.
"We have a lot of elite defenders and a lot of guys that are competing on both sides of the ball. When you have guys doing things like that, it just drives you to compete more defensively it's just a lot of fun," White said in his postgame comments.
The Celtics are 9-2 on second nights of back-to-backs and a league-best 22-11 on the road, as they return to TD Garden -- where they're 29-3 -- to host the Phoenix Suns (38-27) Thursday night. TNT has the tip-off at 7:30 pm ET. 

Game Notes:

Boston hit 46.7% from the field and 20-of-49 (40.8%) from behind the arc, while the Jazz were 47.7% from the floor and 15-of-32 (46.9%) from 3. The Celtics out-rebounded (46-38) and outscored the home team in the paint 44-40. The C's had 25 assists (nine turnovers) on 43 baskets and Utah dished out 23 dimes (10 turnovers) on 41 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

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