|Fast Break: Leandro Barbosa, Celtics tune out Jazz||11.14.12 at 10:02 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo logged his 32nd consecutive game with 10 or more assists, but it was his replacement, Leandro Barbosa, and the rest of the Celtics bench that stole the show in their fifth win in six games, 98-93 over the Jazz.
Rondo played just 25 minutes — none after rolling his right ankle in the third quarter — but Barbosa and Jeff Green each scored 16 points, leading a reserve unit that outscored Utah’s bench, 47-25.
Paul Pierce (23 points) and Kevin Garnett (11 points, 8 rebounds) were the only other Celtics in double figures.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Brazilian blur: In 5:47 off the bench for Rondo in the first half, Barbosa scored seven points, including a string of five on consecutive trips to start the second quarter that tied the game, 25-25. It would’ve been seven straight had he hit his free throws on the next trip, but the effort alone gave the C’s the boost they needed. And then again, when Rondo turned his right ankle in the third quarter, Barbosa contributed quality minutes running the show.
Truth of the quarter: After shooting 2-of-7 and looking sluggish in the first half, Pierce made 5-of-9 attempts in the third quarter, scoring 15 points in the frame. His string of three consecutive 3-pointers midway through the quarter helped stave off a Jazz run and kept the C’s heads above water.
KG impression: What Barbosa did for Rondo, Chris Wilcox did for Garnett. The C’s backup center contributed 18 minutes off the bench, totaling seven points and five rebounds while holding down the fort in Garnett’s absence (and we all know how the Celtics have been struggling in that department). More importantly, his effort kept Garnett fresh for the fourth quarter, when KG wreaked his usual havoc.
Green with envy: This Jeff Green dunk on Al Jefferson. No words necessary.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Postmen ring more than twice: The Jazz can run any number of frontcourt combinations at their opponents, so protecting the paint from the opening tip becomes even more vital. Consider it not done. On the back of Paul Millsap‘s eight first-quarter points, Utah scored its first 14 points — and 16 of its first 19 — in the key. The Jazz also outworked the C’s on the glass to the tune of 48-33 for the game (18-4 on the offensive glass).
Not doing them any Favors: Despite Garnett’s attempts to get inside his head, Derrick Favors didn’t relent, getting to the line a whopping 12 times in 10 first-half minutes and banging the boards on both ends. By halftime, the 21-year-old Favors seemed headed for a double-double before finishing with 14 points and nine boards.
Imperfect 10: Searching for any signs of life as the Celtics fell behind 25-20 by the end of the first quarter, coach Doc Rivers trotted 10 different players out on the floor. Here’s how stagnant the offense was in the first 12 minutes: Rondo had zero assists thanks to 8-of-20 shooting from his teammates.