NBA Game Preview - Celtics v Jazz

 
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114
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Boston 23 30 32 29 114
Utah 15 36 31 21 103
103
7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 PM MST10:30 PM EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 PM CT2:30 , February 26, 2020
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah  Attendance: 18,306

Hayward prepping for homecoming as Celtics visit Jazz

According to STATS
According to STATS

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz

  1. The Jazz have won three of the last four meetings with the Celtics, including both games last season. The last time Utah won three straight games against Boston was a 14-game winning streak from 1992-1999.
  2. The Celtics won in Portland on Tuesday, 118-106, making a season-high 19 three pointers. Since the start of 2016-17, the Celtics are 19-15 (.559) when playing in the second game of a back-to-back on the road, third-best such record in the NBA.
  3. The Jazz fell to the Suns at home on Monday, 131-111, their worst home loss to a team with a losing record since March 1, 2017 versus Minnesota (107-80). Utah made 37 free throws against Phoenix, its most in a loss since December 28, 2012 versus the Clippers (also 37 FTM).
  4. Jayson Tatum has 80 points in his last two games and is averaging 30.3 points in 10 games in February. He could become the first Celtics forward to average at least 30.0 points in a single month since Paul Pierce in February 2006 (33.5 PPG).
  5. Donovan Mitchell dropped 38 points against the Suns, a little over two years after scoring 40 against the Suns in his rookie season. In his career, Mitchell averages 22.1 points before the All-Star break compared to 24.7 points after the break.
  6. Gordon Hayward will return to Utah for the second time since joining the Celtics after scoring 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting on November 9 last season. Hayward is shooting a career-high 50.8 percent from the floor, third-best in the NBA among non-PFs/Cs this season (minimum 500 FGA).

Gordon Hayward gets his second homecoming since leaving his seven-year NBA home when the Boston Celtics visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The 29-year-old is enjoying a turn-back-the-clock campaign two seasons after suffering a career-threatening broken leg in his Celtics debut in 2017.

Hayward contributed 12 points and five rebounds to Boston's 118-106 victory at Portland on Tuesday in the opener of a back-to-back.

No Celtics player was pressed into more than 34 minutes of duty in the win, including Hayward, who went just 31.

He will enter Wednesday's game averaging 17.3 points while shooting a career-high 50.8 percent.

An All-Star in 2017, his final season with the Jazz, Hayward has visited Utah just once previously since signing a four-year, $128 million free-agent contract with Boston. Only 11 games removed from having to sit out the final 81 games of the 2017-18 season, Hayward had 13 points and seven assists in 26 minutes in a 123-115 loss at Utah in November 2018.

The Jazz also won at Boston 98-86 eight days later, sweeping the season series for the first time since 2006-07. Hayward had just seven points and four rebounds in the rematch.

The Celtics have alternated wins and losses in the first three games of their trip, sandwiching a narrow defeat in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Sunday with victories at Minnesota and Portland.

They'd love to get All-Star point guard Kemba Walker in the lineup for the first time on the trip in Utah, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens noted Monday that his title-contending club would rather err on the side of caution with the veteran's sore knee.

"What he's doing is exactly what we said: Strengthening and working out hard and trying to make it so it doesn't become a back-and-forth thing," Stevens explained to reporters. "That's the goal. Let's do it now, strengthen it, make it as good as it can be, then we can ramp up accordingly as we head into the stretch run."

The Celtics will be encountering a Jazz team that's been struggling. After opening a six-game homestand with a win over Miami, Utah has been beaten in succession by San Antonio, Houston and Phoenix.

The last of those games, a 131-111 drubbing Monday, was most disheartening not only in that it was at the hands of a team with a losing record, but also in that the Suns put up the second-most points scored by a Jazz opponent this season.

Utah, which began the season by holding its first five opponents under 100 points, has now allowed 12 of its last 13 foes to score in triple figures, including the last seven in a row.

"We're gonna keep getting the same result if we don't focus and execute on the defensive end," Jazz coach Quin Snyder insisted to reporters after Monday's loss. "This is a group that's done that. But that doesn't matter right now. What that should tell us is that we're capable, at least on some level. But right now that's not who we are. Who you are is who you are now, not who you've been or what you're gonna do or what you can do. It's what you do."

The Jazz wrap up a six-game homestand Friday against Washington.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 26, 2020

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