at Boston Celtics (39-17) at Utah Jazz (36-21)
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
10:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #58 Road Game #29
TV: ESPN, NBCSB, ATTSN-RM
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 1280 AM The Zone
Vivint Smart Home ArenaProbable Starters
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
Robert Williams (hip) out
Kemba Walker (knee) doubtful
Two Way Players
Brad StevensProbable Starters
PG: Donovan Mitchell
SG: Joe Ingles
SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
PF: Royce O'Neale
C: Rudy Gobert
Nigel Williams-Goss (quad) questionable Two Way Players
Justin Wright-ForemanHead Coach
Quin Snyder Game Notes
The Celtics close out their four game Western road trip in Utah for the first of two regular season games against the Jazz. They will meet one more time on March 6 in Boston. The Jazz swept the Celtics 2-0 last season, winning 98-86 in Boston and 123-115 in Utah.
The Celtics are 57-41 all time overall vs the Jazz and 21-28 all time in Utah. The Jazz are on the 5th game of a 6 game home stand. They are 1-3 so far on the home stand and have lost 3 straight. The Celtics are playing in the second game of a back to back set. They are 3-4 so far on the second night of back to back games and 1-0 when the games are both on the road.
The Celtics are still 3rd in the East, 2.5 games behind the Raptors and 3.5 games ahead of the Heat. They are 16-12 on the road and 8-2 in their last 10 games. They are 14-8 vs Western Conference teams. The Jazz are 5th in the West. They are 20-8 at home and 4-6 in their last 10 games. They are 15-5 vs Eastern Conference teams.
Brad Stevens said that it was possible that Kemba Walker could play in this game but it was unlikely. I expect him to miss this game as the Celtics are cautious with him. Robert Williams will also miss this game although he is close to a return and is scheduled for a scan at the end of the week that could clear him for a return. For the Jazz, only Nigel Williams-Goss (quad) is listed as a game time decision. Key Matchups
Marcus Smart vs Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell is averaging 24.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He is shooting 45.9% from the field and 36.7% from beyond the arc. Kemba may return for this game but likely it will be Marcus Smart matched up with Mitchell.
Gordon Hayward vs Bojan Bogdanovic
Bogdanovic is averaging 20.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He is shooting 44.8% from the field and 41.8% from beyond the arc. He shoots over 3 three pointers per game and so Gordon needs to stay with him especially on the perimeter.
Daniel Theis vs Rudy Gobert
Gobert averages 15.6 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He shoots 68.7% from the field and hasn't shot a 3 pointer this season. Daniel Theis needs to box him out and keep him off the boards and out of the paint as much as possible. It would also help if Theis can hit some outside shots to draw him out to the perimeter. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense is the key to winning each and every game. The Celtics are 3rd in the league with a defensive rating of 105.8 while the Jazz are 13th with a defensive rating of 108.3. The Celtics must play tough swarming TEAM defense along with tough individual defense. The Celtics must particularly guard the 3 point line as the Jazz are the number one team in the league shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc as a team. Rebound
- Much of rebounding is effort and when the Celtics put out that effort on the boards, we see it in the other areas of their game. The Celtics are averaging 45.9 rebounds per game while the Jazz are averaging 45.5 rebounds per game. If they want to win this game they need to crash the boards and out-rebound the Jazz. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics can't afford to dig a hole at the beginning of the game and they can't let up at the end and lose focus and miss shots and allow the Jazz to score at will. They also can't afford those periods in the game where they turn the ball over and lose their focus. They have to play hard from the opening tip to the final buzzer. X-Factors End of the Road
- The Celtics are playing in the final game of a 4 game Western road trip. The last game in a road trip is always a tough one as the team is road weary and tired and may struggle to keep their focus. They have to stay focused on playing Celtics basketball and block out all the distractions that come from playing on the road. They are also playing in back to back games and fatigue could set in from being on the road and from playing two nights in a row. The Celtics need to keep their focus and play hard with no let up. Officiating
- Officiating is always an x-factor. Will they let them play or will they call every ticky tack foul? It's usually to the Celtics' benefit if they let both teams play. Will they call it fair or will they favor one team over the other? We never know what any given crew will do. They need to expect home cooking for the Wolves and stay focused and not allow bad calls take them out of their game.