You couldn’t have drawn up a more fitting ending to the Boston Celtics’ four-game West Coast road trip.
The injury-riddled C’s had to grind their way through all four contests, and though each resulted in a victory, it wasn’t without incident or a few scares along the way.
That certainly was the case in Boston’s 97-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, as Jaylen Brown’s 3-pointer just before time expired helped the C’s wipe away a deficit that grew as big as 11 to earn the win.
Boston clearly was undermanned, which has been the case throughout the past few weeks. But nonetheless, they have big games they need to win, Wednesday’s among them, and the opposition doesn’t care who they do or don’t have. But in utilizing a slew of different players in magnified roles, with all of them contributing in some way, it shows the resilience this team possesses.
In addition, such wins with a battered roster bode well for the Celtics as they prepare for one of their biggest matchups of the regular season.
The Celtics are three games behind the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and they’ll see their Atlantic Division foe in their next game, a contest at TD Garden on Saturday night.
A tilt against Toronto never was expected to be easy, but as depleted as the C’s are, momentum is going to play a huge role in keeping competitive with the East’s best. With such a big win Wednesday night, it’s safe to say the Celtics head into Saturday feeling pretty good about themselves.
Here are some more notes from Celtics-Jazz:
— Al Horford and Marcus Morris both missed Wednesday’s game due to ankle injuries. Horford was a game-time decision, but the Celtics erred on the side of caution with the big man’s ankle.
— Terry Rozier continues to be a major contributor off the bench. He scored in double digits for his 24th consecutive game with 13 points against the Jazz.
Not only is Rozier scoring, but he’s hitting meaningful buckets. He kept the Celtics in the game Wednesday with a trio of 3-pointers over a two-minute stretch midway through the third quarter. Utah answered those treys, but Rozier kept the game in hand with his sharpshooting.
— Even without Smart, the Celtics still are playing pretty efficient defense. Boston has kept its opponents under 100 points in each of the last three games, and seven of the last 11.
— Boston now has won five straight against Western Conference foes, finishing the season 22-8 against the West.
While that is a promising figure should the Celtics end up playing a Western Conference team in June, it marks their best showing against the opposite conference since they went 25-5 during the 2007-08 season.