by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Rob Gray of USA TODAY Sports
The Utah Jazz (33-36) takes on one of the best teams in the league, the Boston Celtics (49-22), in their first meeting this season.
Boston Bleeds Green
In the first quarter, it felt as if the game was being held in TD Garden in Boston rather than Vivint Arena with how many Boston fans there were. Starting with chants each time Jaylen Brown (25/4/6) scored, accounting for 10 of Boston’s points in the opening quarter. Utah tried to keep up with Boston’s shooting efficiency but by trying to match their play, Utah shot 7/20 (35%) from the field while Boston shot 11/19 (57.9%). With Utah’s 1-3-1 zone defense being solved by Boston early, Utah trailed 34-24 at the end of the first.
Quickly into the second, Johnny Juzang (3/4/1) was accessed for a technical foul for landing in Jayson Tatum‘s (15/3/6) landing space. After the review, it was clear that Juzang didn’t gave Tatum the necessary space and landed on Juzang’s foot. From this point on Tatum took over scoring 15 points in the second quarter. Halfway through the quarter, it seemed as if this game was already getting out of hand for Utah as they trailed by 19 points. Talen Horton-Tucker (19/7/5) managed to use his physicality to keep Utah in this game leading towards a 23-5 run spanning six minutes till Tatum scored the final six points to end the half. With a strong showing from Utah, they cut the deficit down to 64-57.
Coming into the second half, Utah’s defensive pressure was impeccable. Forcing Boston to shoot highly contested shots after easily shooting 20/45 (44.4%) in the first half. Ochai Agbaji (16/1/3) became a force to be reckoned with in the third as he scored eight points including two confident perimeter shots. Even after Utah managed to gain a seven-point lead, Boston responded with a 16-3 run leading to the slim 91-88 lead for Boston going into the final quarter.
With Boston keeping things a little too close for comfort, the final quarter felt like the battle of David and Goliath. Boston made a questionable substitution going into the fourth not having Derrick White (10/5/4), who was Boston’s defensive anchor for the night, play any minutes in the final quarter. Though White was off the floor, Grant Williams (23/4/2) was able to bring offensive power all night as he was able to shoot 7/12 (58.3%) from the perimeter. With Williams being hot throughout the game, it came down to him tin the final seconds of the game. With a less than stellar first half, Walker Kessler (12/14/1) came alive in the second half shooting 3/3 (100%) from the field while racking up all three of his blocks. The final seconds came down between Kessler and Williams with Kessler getting the final word as he blocked the layup leading to a rebound by Lauri Markkanen (28/10/3). Markkanen ended up losing control of the ball as it rolled down the court as the final buzzer rang. For both Boston and Utah fans alike, this game was worth the price of admission, but Utah came out victorious 118-117.
Utah will be back in Vivint Arena on Monday night to take on the Sacramento Kings for their third meeting this season.