Celtics

Jazz hum along in handing the Celtics a second loss this month

Jazz hum along in handing the Celtics a second loss this month

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.

STARS

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.

STUDS

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.

DUDS

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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The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

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The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

Everyone has a great Kevin Garnett story. And Enes Kanter's pretty much sums up how intensely committed KG was to winning.

The Boston Celtics forward recently ran into Garnett in Boston at the regional premiere of "Uncut Gems," a new movie Garnett stars in with Adam Sandler.

According to Kanter, Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck also was at the premiere and told Kanter of the first time Garnett walked into TD Garden after being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Celtics in the summer of 2007.

Here's Kanter with NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Enes Kanter Show:"

(Grousbeck) told me a story. He said, "When KG came to the Celtics, he stopped and looked at every (championship) banner for 30 minutes. For 30 minutes. And he studied (them). ... Before he came (to Boston), we had 16 banners. So, that's 30 minutes for every banner. And it's like, 'How do you spend that much (time)?' 

As Forsberg pointed out, that's essentially eight hours of Garnett staring at the TD Garden rafters and soaking in the franchise's rich history.

That may have been some hyperbole on Grousbeck's part, but if anyone would be that maniacally focused on success, it's the uber-competitive Garnett.

"Anybody else, I would be like, 'That's an exaggerated tale,' " Forsberg said, "but I can actually believe that with KG."

Garnett's commitment to winning paid off instantly, as the Celtics raised banner No. 17 to the rafters in his first season with the team in 2007-08.

Kanter and Forsberg also discussed what makes Garnett such a great trash talker, how his current minutes situation differs from his time with the New York Knicks, what the Celtics' chemistry is like on this team and much more.

Hear more from Kanter and Forsberg on Episode 5 of "The Enes Kanter Show," which drops every Wednesday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

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NBC Sports Boston Illlustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

Al Horford makes his return to TD Garden Thursday night in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform. How will the former Celtics big man be received now that's he joined one of Boston's key rivals in the East?

That's just one of the many storylines ahead of Philly's first game in Boston and the first meeting for the teams since the Sixers easily defeated the Celtics back on opening night in late October. 

Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg talk about it in the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast. 

"It should be all love," said Draper, "but let's keep it real: The way Horford went about it, some people aren't happy about it. It sounds like him and the Sixers had some kind agreement before you're allowed to actually talk. I get the sense that they [the Celtics] were caught off guard a little bit."

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Earlier in the podcast, Forsberg is joined by Sixers reporter Serena Winters from NBC Sports Philly to talk about all things 76ers, including Ben Simmons, Horford's veteran influence on the team and where Boston and Philadelphia are now as compared to the opener. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.