BOSTON – About the only thing the Boston Celtics can take away as a clear positive from Saturday’s 98-86 loss to the Utah Jazz is they won’t have to see them again in the regular season until next season.
For the second time this month, the Utah Jazz were able to handily defeat the Boston Celtics and sweep the regular season series 2-0.
Boston (9-7) pulled out a thrilling overtime win over Toronto on Friday night, but the Celtics’ play on Saturday looked as though that win took more out of them than they could muster up to face a Utah team that was also on the back end of a back-to-back set of games.
Making matters worse for Boston was Kyrie Irving picking up his fifth personal foul with 5:12 to play in the third quarter.
Irving didn’t return until the start of the fourth quarter and by that time, the Jazz lead had ballooned to 15 points.
Irving’s return didn’t make much of a dent on the scoreboard for Boston which continued to play uphill as Utah managed to maintain its double-digit lead.
Utah managed to generate offense in a multitude of ways, among their favorites being the lob dunk to an assortment of bigs who far too often, seemed wide open.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s loss.
Donovan Mitchell: One of the rising stars in the NBA, Donovan Mitchell was a problem for the Celtics all game. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-for-20 shooting with six assists.
Kyrie Irving: It wasn’t exactly a 43-point, 11-assist performance we saw the night before, but Irving was still putting up big numbers in an efficient manner. Despite some second half foul trouble (he picked up his fifth personal foul with 5:12 to play in the third quarter), Irving would lead the Celtics with 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field to go with eight rebounds.
Ricky Rubio: It was solid night for Ricky Rubio who tallied 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting to go with four rebounds and two assists.
Rudy Gobert: You expect him to shoot a high percentage with most of his points coming via a lob or a dunk. But on Saturday, Gobert had his free throw game going too. He finished with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field while making four of his six free throw attempts in addition to grabbing nine rebounds.
Celtics bench: Usually an active group, they were a collective dud on Saturday night. There was more to it than the fact that they only scored a total of 37 points, although a good chunk of that came when the game’s outcome was all but decided with the points having little to no impact beyond padding individual player’s stats.
Boston’s free throws: The Celtics shot just 60 percent (11-for-20) from the line which included some of their most reliable free throw shooters were delivering one miss after another. Boston came into the game 10th in the NBA in free throw percentage (.787). And like Boston’s bench points, many of the made free throws came when the game was out of reach.
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