Celtics

BSJ Game Report: Jazz 99, Celtics 94 – Shorthanded Celtics can’t muster enough offense

(Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Everything you need to know about the Jazz beating the Celtics 99-94 with BSJ insight and analysis 

Box Score

Shorthanded Celtics can’t keep pace with Jazz amid bench woes: The Celtics shot an ugly 37.2 percent from the field without Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, and their undermanned bench was exposed by the Jazz for much of the night on their way to a 99-94 defeat. It was two points shy of Boston’s lowest-scoring performance of the year. Marcus Smart had a game-high 29 points for the C’s but with Kemba Walker on a minutes limit and Jayson Tatum (7/19 FG) having an off night, there was not enough firepower from the rest of the C’s lineup to hang with Utah after giving up 62 first-half points. Mike Conley had a team-high 25 points for the visitors who handed the C’s their third straight home loss. Boston will try to get back on track on Sunday against the Thunder but they fell two full games behind the No. 2 seed in the meantime.

Kemba Walker struggles amid minutes limit: The All-Star point guard managed to score 13 points in his 26 minutes but they came inefficiently (5-of-17 FG) amid five 5-6 minutes stints over the course of the night. “It’s tough. It’s tough,” Walker said after the game. “Obviously I’m just coming in and out the game pretty fast. But it’ll come, I guess. Just gotta keep working through it and trying my hardest not to frustrate myself.” Some poor shooting nights are expected as he works himself back into shape following a three-week absence but the C’s lacked the firepower to make up for the poor shooting night with an ugly performance from the second unit and no one in the starting five shooting above 40 percent from the field besides Daniel Theis.

TURNING POINT

The Jazz closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run and that expanded to 43-18 overall in the second quarter behind some red-hot 3-point shooting by the Jazz (61 percent) and some inept defense by Boston’s second unit, helping to turn a 10-point deficit into a 13-point lead for Utah.

TWO UP

Marcus Smart: The usual 6th man was forced to be a No. 1 scoring option for the Celtics at times with Brown and Hayward out of the lineup and did his best chip to carry some extra weight, scoring a team-high 15 points in the first half on his way to a game-high 29 points.

Semi Ojeleye: The swingman went from a DNP-CD in regulation two games ago to leading the Celtics in minutes in the first half with 20. He took two charges and grabbed a team-high 5 rebounds before the break while chipping in with nine points. He wasn’t hitting the 3 but his defense helped the C’s stay in the game as a supporting piece with the starters

TWO DOWN

Enes Kanter: The big man has been a defensive negative all season long but he had a huge target on his back in this one as the Jazz ran him through the pick-and-roll and got open looks on the perimeter during his five first half minutes. The Jazz outscored the Celtics by 13 minutes in that stretch.

Boston’s bench on defense: We all know this group are supposed to compliment a healthy Celtics core but they looked like a mess on both ends of the floor in this one. Romeo Langford, Brad Wanamaker and Grant Williams were all outclassed by the Jazz bench, during a big lead in the fourth quarter into a double digit deficit.

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