Celtics Wrap: Jayson Tatum’s 29 Points Not Enough To Defeat Jazz

Utah defeated Boston 117-109

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March 16, 2021

The Boston Celtics came within a single point of the lead late Tuesday’s game against the Jazz.

Utah ultimately won, 117-109, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on Jayson Tatum’s part.

The Celtics seemed to stop and end with Tatum, who took over in the second half to keep Boston in the game. He finished with a game-high 29 points with six rebounds and three assists.

Jaylen Brown followed that up with 28 points and seven assists, while Kemba Walker had 16 points and 5 assists. Daniel Theis played great with 15 points, but aside from Robert Williams, the bench left a lot to be desired in offensive production.

Donovan Mitchell was clutch for Utah and led the way with 21 points and five rebounds. Jordan Clarkson (20 points), Mike Conley (17 points) and Rudy Gobert (16 points) contributed to a balanced offense.

Boston fell to 20-19 and will try again Wednesday. The Jazz, meanwhile, climbed to 29-10.

Here’s how it all went down:

STARTING FIVE
PG Kemba Walker
SG Jaylen Brown
SF Jayson Tatum
PF Semi Ojeleye
C Daniel Theis

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STRONG START
The Celtics came out with great energy on both sides of the ball and played some of their most engaged defense of the season at stretches in the opening quarter. Utah had six turnovers, four of which were Boston steals.

There also was a lot to like about how the Celtics were playing off one another on offense.

Brown did most of the heavy lifting in the first, though. He had 10 points in the first quarter.

Boston got out to an 11-point lead at one point, but the advantage disintegrated to just two by the end of the quarter, where it led 22-20.

THIS ONE WILL BE EARNED
Things flattened out for Boston in the first quarter, but Utah managed to stay neck-and-neck as neither team could create separation.

The offense got a bit more balanced, though, as Tatum and Theis both hit double-digit scoring by the end of the half.

But the second quarter was made most memorable by Theis.

Robert Williams took advantage of the extra time he was getting with Tristan Thompson out of the rotation and put up six points by the break.

But Utah’s bench, primarily Georges Niang and Joe Ingles, led the Jazz to a 54-53 lead at halftime. And that’s not to mention Donovan Mitchell’s nine points and three assists.

DON’T PANIC
The Celtics took their lead back with the first shot of the second half, but that was the last time they saw it for a while.

But with about eight minutes left, Royce O’Neal got his fourth personal foul, allowing Tatum to go off.

He had 12 points in the third going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, including the 500th 3-pointer of his career.

Smart hit a 27-foot triple to give Boston the 79-77 lead they entered the final quarter with.

SO CLOSE, SO FAR
Utah tied the game back up with the first basket of the fourth by way of Rudy Gobert and got out to a nine-point lead, their largest of the game.

Jaylen Brown made a 28-foot 3-pointer with just over eight minutes that allowed the C’s to chip away at the Jazz’s lead.

A jumper from Walker made it a three-point game, and Tatum brought Boston within one with 4:09 on the clock to instigate a Jazz timeout.

That was the closest they got, though, staying within a few possessions but not being able to close it out thanks to a string of 3-pointers from Mitchell, Conley and the ensuing free throw fest that followed.

UP NEXT
It’s a quick turnaround, with the Celtics getting back to work Wednesday night against the Cavaliers. Tip-off from Quicken Loans Arena is set for 8 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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