SALT LAKE CITY – The Celtics road woes continued with a 123-115 loss at Utah.
Boston (7-5) has dropped three of its past four – all on the road – to secure a losing record for this five-game road trip which ends in Portland on Sunday.
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And like most of the previous losses, Boston’s defense has been ineffective for long stretches that ultimately played a pivotal role in the defeat.
Utah came in as one of the top shooting teams in the NBA and they showed why by connecting on 55.8 percent of their shots from the field.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night.
He was filling in for Kyrie Irving (who missed the game for personal reasons) and while he didn’t quite deliver a Kyrie-like game, Rozier was one of the better performers for Boston. For the game, he had a team-high 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting along with six rebounds and three assists without a turnover.
He found his groove scoring the ball in the third quarter, playing a pivotal role in Utah getting the victory. He would tally 21 points, including a number of baskets in iso situations where he attacked Gordon Hayward off the dribble. He also had five assists.
Less than 24 hours after one of his worst shooting nights as a pro, Tatum was indeed more efficient Friday night. He finished with 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting to go with four assists and three rebounds.
The Celtics haven’t been good at getting points in the paint this season and having to contend with 7-foot-1 Gobert didn’t help. Not only does he defend at a high level, but he also hurt the Celtics with a series of lob dunks before finishing with a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds.
He continues to deliver the goods off the bench, delivering one big shot after another in the second half before finishing with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting to go with five rebounds.
He was a key to the good shooting night by the Jazz, scoring 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field to go with seven assists and six rebounds.
The trend of Crowder coming up big against former teams continues. The former Celtic had 20 points off the bench on 8-for-15 shooting while knocking down four of his nine 3-point attempts.
For too many stretches, they allowed the Utah shooters to get too comfortable whether it was raising up for a 3-pointer or finishing at the rim. They were better in the fourth quarter but again, they allowed the Jazz to get into a rhythm that they were able to maintain for most of the game.
The Celtics aren’t executing as well as they should and while the players certainly deserve their share of the blame for that, some of that should also fall upon the shoulders of the coach. He has shown himself to be one of the best at getting the most out of whatever he has been given to work with. And while the Celtics certainly have a difficult schedule out of the gate, they’re simply not getting it done in crunch time. In the past, that's often when Stevens and his Xs and O’s tended to shine brightly. He’s still one of the best coaches out there, just like the team he coaches has lots of really good players. But lately, neither has delivered the kind of performances Celtics fans have come to expect.
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