Win or lose, that was electric.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, one of their best performances yet came in a loss to the Utah Jazz that came down to the wire.
With the 137-130 result, the Jazz improve to 15-7 on the season, while the Celtics fall to 12-11, despite great effort on both ends.
Here is the full box score.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
At least this was the first loss you could feel good about. The Celtics really can run with anyone this year, if they want.
Against a top team in the NBA, this was easily the most fluid Boston’s offense has looked all season. The defenses went at it all game, but some of the shot making was exceptional on both sides. The Celtics had great strategy of pulling Rudy Gobert out of the lane to get to the basket, and ball movement was something to be proud of. Throw in the Celtics taking advantage of 19 turnovers, and it was a great game from start to finish.
Ultimately, you just have to tip your cap to a balanced Utah squad. The Jazz just are really good, and not much you can do about Mike Conley (7-for-7 from 3-point range) and Donovan Mitchell down the stretch there.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Tatum had a stretch in the third with eight straight points, where his takeover truly started. But he excelled within the Celtics’ offensive scheme, displaying his ridiculous upper-body control on a number of finishes around the basket. He was in his bag. Tatum finished with a game-high 37 points, six boards, five assists and a block.
— Al Horford was a huge part of Boston’s game plan. He simply looked unbelievable in the first half, getting out to 19 points. By the time it was said and done, he had 21 points, five boards, nine assists, a steal and a block. Deeper than the box score, Horford helped Boston space the floor and pull Rudy Gobert out of the post, allowing the rest of the team to attack.
— Let’s hear it for the ball handlers. Dennis Schröder (26 points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal) Marcus Smart (15 points, two rebounds, two assists, four steals) and Josh Richardson (11 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals).
Smart in particular had a clutch three late in the fourth, and put Gobert on a poster. It was nasty.
Anyone betting on a big game from Al Horford had a stress-free night. He was +110 to score more than 12 points and -170 to record at least 3 assists, reaching both of those thresholds before halftime. A $100 bet on points would have paid out $110, while a $170 bet on assists would have been worth going in on, even if not the best bettors odds.
A $100 bet on the Celtics moneyline would have paid out $260, per DraftKings Sportsbook. So close, yet so far.
It’s a quick turnaround for Boston, who head out to Portland on Saturday to face the Trail Blazers. Tip off is at 10 p.m. ET.