For the second time in eight days, the Utah Jazz rolled through the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics couldn’t pick up their third straight win Saturday night at TD Garden, as the Jazz swept the regular-season series between the two teams with a convincing 98-86 win.
Donovan Mitchell put on a show, scoring a game-high 28 points, while Ricky Rubio impressed with 20 of his own. Kyrie Irving notched 20 points in 30 minutes, but he only was one of two Celtics to score in double figures.
With the loss, the Celtics fell to 9-7, while the Jazz improved to 8-8.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Gordon Hayward
C: Al Horford
The Celtics didn’t carry much momentum coming off Friday’s thrilling overtime win over the Toronto Raptors, as the Jazz grabbed a 29-20 lead after the first 12 minutes of play. With a 38 percent field goal percentage in the first, Boston struggled mightily from distance, posting a 1-for-9 mark on 3-pointers. Mitchell was feeling it from the get-go, notching seven first-quarter points, while Irving was the high man for the C’s with five.
The Jazz stretched their lead to as large as 12 in the second quarter, but the Celtics made sure things didn’t get out of hand in the early goings. Thanks in large part to a quick 9-0 run near the midway point of the frame, Boston trimmed Utah’s advantage to 50-45 at the break.
The Celtics’ offense wasn’t overly impressive in the second, but their defense was sharp, holding the Jazz without a field goal for a stretch of four minutes and 48 seconds as they nipped on the visitors’ heels. Utah shot at a 36 percent clip in the second to help Boston get back in the game. Irving led the way with seven points in the quarter to boost his first-half mark to 12, while Aron Baynes provided a boost off the bench with five.
KNOCKED BACK DOWN
After rallying in the second quarter, the Celtics couldn’t ride the wave into the third, which concluded with the Jazz holding a 77-62 advantage. Mitchell was a force to be reckoned with in the frame with nine points, six of which were via 3-pointers. Utah also received strong efforts from Rudy Gobert and Rubio, both of whom chipped in five third-quarter points.
The Celtics’ offense lacked rhythm in the third, and things only got worse when Irving picked up his fifth foul of the game with 5:21 left in the stanza, forcing the point guard to the bench. Hayward paced the Celtics with five points in the quarter.
Utah could have delivered the dagger earlier had it not been for another lengthy field goal drought. After Rubio hit a jumper with 5:02 left in the quarter, the Jazz didn’t score another basket until Dante Exum buried a triple with 26 seconds to go.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
The Jazz kept their foot on the gas and quickly swelled their lead to 19 early in the fourth quarter. The Celtics’ lifelessness prompted head coach Brad Stevens to make an unexpected move, sending Guerschon Yabusele and Brad Wanamaker into action at the 8:58 mark.
The surprising tactical change created some energy for the Celtics, who went on a 6-0 run in less than a minute. That served as the last moment of hope for Boston, however, as Utah didn’t blink and cruised to victory.
The Celtics hit the road for a Monday evening clash with the Charlotte Hornets. Tip-off from Spectrum Center is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports
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