Monday, February 28, 2011
Game 58: Celtics vs. Jazz
By Greg Payne
at EnergySolutions Arena, 9 p.m. | CSN, WEEI (850 AM)
||(42-15, 17-10 away)
||-- vs. --
|| (32-28, 17-13 home)
PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)
- The Adjustment Bureau: The Celtics and their last two opponents all made deals around the trade deadline, resulting in roster shake-ups and needed periods of adjustment. Newcomers Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic will continue to familiarize themselves with the Celtics' schemes against a Utah Jazz team that underwent a significant change itself last week. In addition to Hall-of-Fame head coach Jerry Sloan recently stepping down, Utah traded All-Star point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for point guard Devis Harris, rookie forward Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks, and cash last Wednesday. The Jazz are 1-1 since acquiring Harris, who notched his first double-double with his new club in a 120-116 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday, finishing with 17 points and 12 assists.
- Bigger Al this time around?: For the second time this season the Celtics will match up with old friend Al Jefferson. When the two clubs met in Boston back on January 21, Jefferson struggled through a horrendous 1-of-11 shooting performance, finishing with his lowest shooting percentage in any game this season (9.1 percent).
- Allen owns Utah: Ray Allen has scored over 20,000 points in his NBA career, and, historically, Utah's been one of his favorite teams to tally points against. Allen's career scoring average of 23.9 points per game in 34 career games against the Jazz is his second highest against any one team in the NBA. In his career Allen has only averaged more points (24.4 per game) against the Denver Nuggets. Allen's been particularly effective from three-point nation against Utah, as he's buried 42.2 percent of his looks from deep.
It will likely take time for the Jazz to figure out how to move forward following the trade of Deron Williams to New Jersey on Wednesday. Devin Harris and Derrick Favors, both acquired in the deal, combined for 27 points in a 120-116 loss to Detroit on Saturday, Utah's sixth defeat in seven games.
The Jazz (32-28) have been spiraling down the standings for a while, losing 15 of 20 to drop from third place in the Western Conference to ninth.
"We are just looking for something good to happen so that we can start feeling good about ourselves," coach Tyrone Corbin said.
A matchup with Boston might not provide the best opportunity for Utah to break out of its funk. The Celtics beat the Jazz 110-86 on Jan. 21 in Boston, getting 21 points from Kevin Garnett and 20 from Pierce.
No Utah player scored more than 12, and the starters combined for a season-low 38 points. Former Celtic Al Jefferson finished with seven points on 1-of-11 shooting, but he's in the midst of a scoring surge, averaging 27.0 points in his last five games -- 9.2 better than his team-leading average.
Read the full preview HERE.