The Celtics couldn’t quite get it done Friday night.
Boston, without Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, was defeated 99-94 by the Utah Jazz at TD Garden in an ugly game by the Celtics’ offense.
The C’s shot just 37.2 percent from the field and 27.8 from three, with the only positive being Marcus Smart draining 29 points (to go along with getting kneed in the groin for the 10th (!) time this season).
The offense struggled all night, scoring just 60 points over the last three quarters. And, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Brian Robb, Boston amassed just two points in the final 4:54 of the third.
But at the end of the day, head coach Brad Stevens still is looking at the good.
“We were playing with the right energy, playing with the right ball movement. I thought our starters were really good. … In a lot of different parts I thought we played well,” he told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after the game. “But they got a lot of firepower over there and I thought they just outplayed us. I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. We missed some pretty makable plays, you have nights like that.
“… We held them to 99 points,” he added. “So, it’s good enough to win. We just gotta score a little bit better.”
If you ask Smart, though, he couldn’t disagree more.
?I disagree,” he said, per Forbes Sports’ Chris Grenham. “Our effort was sh-t. …”
“We gotta punch first and then keep punching back,” he added on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage.
The Celtics now have lost three straight games at home.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Celtics-Jazz game:
— Boston had four players in double-digit points, with Smart’s 29 leading the way.
Jayson Tatum (18), Kemba Walker (13) and Daniel Theis (12) were the others.
Tatum’s 18 points certainly are not what Celtics fans have been used to of late. But a drop in points could be attributed to a lengthy absence in the second quarter.
But the move wasn’t disciplinary or related to Tatum’s performance. It strictly was for rest, according to The Athletic’s Jay King.
Brad Stevens said he?s trying to manage Tatum?s minutes appropriately because of how much he?s played in the last month and a half. That contributed to his lengthy absence in the second quarter.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 7, 2020
Tatum is OK with the limitations with the playoffs on the horizon.
?It makes sense,” he said, per King. “It?s a long season. Playoffs are what?s most important.?
— Kemba Walker still was on a minutes restriction as the Celtics work him back into a rhythm. But the restriction, Smart believes, makes things a bit more difficult for Boston.
“Oh yeah, by far, by far,” Smart said on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. With the talent we have, Kemba on minutes restriction, it’s tough to get him in a groove because he’s coming out as he’s getting into his groove. Kemba’s a great player but that’s tough on him.”
— The loss slipped the Celtics to 42-20 on the season.