Boston Celtics 97-94 Utah Jazz: 5 talking points
The Utah Jazz hosted a Boston Celtics team without either of their 2 All-Stars Al Horford and Kyrie Irving. Despite being on a hot run with 23 wins in their last 27 games, the Jazz failed to take advantage of a depleted Celtics roster, losing 97-94 in a well-contested game.
The Jazz failed to capitalize on the opportunity to tie the San Antonio Spurs for the 6th spot, and are now at the 8th seed in the Western Conference, just 1 game ahead of the Clippers in 9th and 2 ahead of the Denver Nuggets in 10th place. The Celtics, meanwhile, consolidated their hold on the 2nd seed, and could even go on to win the Conference if the Toronto Raptors keep stuttering as they have in their last 5 games.
Here are 5 talking points from the game:
#5 The battle for interior dominance
The Jazz frontcourt trio of Rudy Gobert, Jonas Jerebko, and Derrick Favors took advantage of the absence of Al Horford to outrebound the Celtics bigs by a margin of 8. It was easy to do so, as Stevens was forced to start rookie Guerschlon Yabusele - an undersized power forward playing only his 29th game in the league.
Gobert collected 11 boards of his own, while Favors and Jerebko chipped in with 5 and 7 respectively. The Jazz frontcourt, however, got outscored by their Celtics counterpart 24-21, as Jerebko missed 4 out of his 5 shot attempts.