Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz
|12.15.08 at 10:27 am ET|
On Monday night the Boston Celtics (22-2) will take on the Utah Jazz (15-10) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Celtics are off to a franchise-best start and enter tonight on a 14-game winning streak. The Jazz, who are 6-4 in their last 10 games, have been trying to find consistency without Carlos Boozer (left quad).
Celtics Out for Revenge
There were few teams last season who beat the Celtics, let alone blew them out. Of their 16 regular season losses, the 110-92 embarrassment at the Garden was the worst they suffered. Doc Rivers pointed out Deron Williams‘ 18 free-throw attempts in that game. It didn’t matter how many he made (17, for the record), 18 trips to the line was the problem in itself. Also that night, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 2-for-9 from the field and the Celtics shot 3-for-15 from long range.
“That was the one game that I can remember that they really, really beat us,” Paul Pierce said. “A lot of losses we had, it was like we had a chance to win. But we just had no chance versus Utah. They outplayed us, they out-hustled us, they out-executed us, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. They’re a very good team and well coached with some great players.”
Match Up to Watch: Rondo vs. Williams
Prior to last Friday’s game against the New Orleans Hornets, Rajon Rondo was unaware he would be going up against Chris Paul and Deron Williams in back-to-back games. Williams is averaging 10.3 assists, second in the league only to Paul, and 12.3 points. Nonetheless, Rondo does not use these match ups to measure his own progress.
“I don’t look at it like that,” Rondo said. “Every night I feel like at the point guard position is pretty tough no matter who we’re against. I didn’t know we played Utah next but last night I had Juan Dixon and tonight (Friday) I have Chris Paul, so that’s just part of the NBA. I think the point guard is the hardest position to guard each night.”
In the Last Five Games …
Boston: 109.0 PPG, +16.8 margin of victory, 50.0% FG, 41.8% 3PG, 74.7% FT, 23.8 APG, 46.0 RPG, 8.4 SPG
Utah: 101.6 PPG, +5.6 margin of victory, 47.2% FG, 36.5% 3PG, 74.5% FT, 25.8 APG, 42.4 RPG, 10.4 SPG
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