For the second time in three games, the Boston Celtics put on an underwhelming performance and paid for it.
The Utah Jazz came to TD Garden on Friday night in the midst of a four-game losing streak, but they thoroughly outplayed the Celtics and claimed the 107-95 victory.
Boston struggled to contain Ricky Rubio, who put up 22 points, but he wasn’t alone as four additional Jazz players contributed at least 12 points.
A horrid second quarter performance did the Celtics in, as they were outscored in the frame 25-13. Once Utah took the lead a little over six minutes into the quarter, they never gave it up, spending the rest of the game keeping the Celtics just far enough out of reach to prevent them from mounting a comeback.
Kyrie Irving (33 points) and Al Horford (21 points) were the only Celtics in double figures. The Celtics were manipulated on the boards as well, losing the rebounding battle 46-29.
The Jazz climbed to 14-15 with the win, while the Celtics fell to 24-7.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
HORFORD’S HOT START
Al Horford hit a 3-pointer in the Celtics’ first trip down the floor, and the jumper proved to be a precursor of what was to come in the rest of the quarter.
The C’s big man opened up the floor with his offense, going 4-for-4 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers, while also dishing out four assists. His 10 points in the first were just a small portion of his contributions to the Celtics’ five-point lead at the end of the period, as the Jazz visibly struggled to figure out how to play him.
His resulting awareness allowed him to shoot freely, and also make quality passes to create opportunities for teammates.
C’S OFFENSE GOES QUIET
After putting up 26 points in the first quarter, the Celtics were unable to establish much offense the next 12 minutes, beginning the quarter by posting just two points over the first 6:17.
The C’s had no shortage of offensive opportunities, but each player on the court struggled to finish, be it when shooting from the perimeter or in the paint. Such poor shooting drove the Celtics’ field goal percentage down to 35.7 by the time the half finished.
In that time, the Jazz took over and cashed in on Boston’s woeful offense, putting up 25 points to take a 46-39 lead into halftime.
JAZZ KEEP CELTICS AT BAY
While there was nowhere to go but up following the Celtics’ brutal second-quarter performance, there was a noticeable improvement on the other side of the half, with Boston putting up 28 points.
The problem was, however, Utah answered with 33 of their own.
Each time Boston put a good string of possessions together, it was met with a solid response from the Jazz, who managed to keep the Celtics at arm’s reach and extended their lead to 12 by the end of the quarter.
Boston’s offense was rejuvenated, however, by Irving beginning to come alive on the offensive end. The guard put up 16 points in the quarter after contributing 13 in the entire first half.
UTAH SHUTS THE DOOR
As the C’s offense began to come alive in the third quarter, there was a looming feeling that if they could reciprocate it on the defensive end, they presumably could regain the lead.
No such fortune.
The two sides broke even in the final period, each putting up 28 points. At no point did the Celtics ever seem to put themselves in a place where they could begin to forge a comeback.
By the time the game was within the final four minutes, it was clear the Jazz were not going to lose control of the lead.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
If he keeps this up, we’re going to have to just turn this section into the “Jaylen Brown Highlight of the Game.”
The Celtics will play the second game of their back-to-back on the road in Memphis tomorrow against the Grizzlies. Tip from FedExForum is scheduled for 9 p.m ET.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images.
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