The Boston Celtics experienced some déjà vu on Friday night.
The Celtics faced another significant deficit on the road on the second night back to back. However, there was a stark difference in the comparison of the Celtics with the Utah Jazz vs. Match match. Boston with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.
Kyrie Irving was sensational against the suns. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics reach 22 points behind. Irving continued to roll over time, earning six points to take Boston to victory.
But Irving was not in the fold (personal reasons) against jazz, and his absence was certainly felt.
After Utah had increased his lead to 20 in the second half, Boston began to break and eventually came within four minutes, just under eight minutes behind in the fourth quarter. Although they had more than enough time to make a comeback and possibly steal yet another victory, the Cs broke their resilience. 10 of their last 16 shots of the game were on their way to a loss of 123-115.
The Boston offensive lacked the rhythm along the entire route as visitors continued to rely on pull-up 3 hands, hoping to get back into the game. The story was different on Thursday night when the attack went through Irving, who managed to involve his teammates as he sank basket after basket.
There is no doubt that the Celtics can do without Irving when the club marched into the Eastern Conference last season following his knee operation at the Eastern Conference and found ways to win this campaign in the midst of his slow start. But Irving's locking skills are invaluable and Boston could definitely have used them on Friday night.
Here are a few notes from Friday's Celtics jazz game:
– It was an important night for Gordon Hayward, who played his first round of the season against his former team, no less. The veteran striker scored 13 points and seven assists in 25 minutes. All in all, coach Brad Stevens was pleased with what he saw of Hayward.
"I think one of the things we knew was that there would be a lot of emotion on their side and the fans and everything else," Stevens said, as seen in NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Postgame. "I thought he did a lot of good things. Probably not the easiest position I was in, but I thought he could handle it well from the game's point of view. "
– Terry Rozier made his first start of the season in Irving's absence. The Guardian in the fourth year seized the opportunity and scored a team-high 22 points, including a 5 out of 8 points from a 3-point range.
– Utah's inner presence made for a long game from Boston with a rebound advantage of 45-28. The jazz also scored 50 points in the color of the Celtics 38.
– The Cs, who were among the top defensive teams last season, have scored at least 102 points in their last six games.
– Hayward was not the only player to participate in a "revenge game". Jae Crowder was impressive against his former team and scored 20 points with six rebounds.
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