Utah Jazz (0-4) @ Boston Celtics (0-4)
Tip off @ 7:30 p.m. EST
TV : Root Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
PG – Jamaal Tinsley
SG – Gordon Hayward
SF – Richard Jefferson
PF – Derrick Favors
C – Enes Kanter
PG – Avery Bradley
SG – Jeff Green
SF – Gerald Wallace
PF – Brandon Bass
C – Vitor Faverani
Both the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics come into tonight’s matchup looking for their first win of the season. The Jazz, enter tonight, coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets last night. The loss for the Jazz did not have many bright spots, but if you can take anything away from it, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter finished with respectable games, finishing with 22 and 21 points. The Jazz will look to try and bounce back against a team who looks to be in more of a rebuilding process than they are.
Key Matchup: Gordon Hayward vs Jeff Green
Hayward enters the game averaging 15 points, 5 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game. However, only shooting the ball at 37% on the season. Green comes into the game averaging 16.8 points, 1.5 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game. To add to that, Green is shooting the ball at 46% on the season.
Green and Hayward are both guys that their teams look to for scoring. The difference is that Hayward has other weapons around him to help shoulder that load. Green doesn’t quite have that same help. It will be interesting to see which one of these players can push their teams to their first victory.
The Celtics have a rookie coming off the bench that, by season’s end, could be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year in Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk had a fantastic preseason. However, to start the season, Olynyk is only averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 20.3 minutes. For the Celtics to succeed, I believe Olynyk has to produce more than what he is showing.
For the Jazz, they got Brandon Rush back from injury last night. Rush only played 10 minutes and looked extremely rusty. According to Rush, the plan is to pick up his minutes night after night to get him back into game shape. Tonight’s game could be a big game for Alec Burks. With the way the Celtics bench looks so far, Burks should be able to produce quality minutes off the bench that could help lead the Jazz to their first victory.
The Celtics come into this game ranking 28th in points per game at only 87.5 per game. They also come into this game struggling in rebounding (27th, 38.5 per game) and assists (30th, 14.3 per game). However, the Celtics come into the game ranked 6th in defense, allowing 95 points per contest. The Jazz enter tonight ranking two spots higher than the Celtics at 26 in the NBA with 91.7 points per game. However, the Jazz are much better on the boards, as they rank 7th overall with 45.3 rebounds per game. The Jazz have not come up with a lot of assists so far in the season, but they still rank higher than the Celtics at 21st with 19 per game. Defensively, the Jazz are giving up 97.3 points per game, landing them at 12th in the league.
As a result of all those stats listed above, the Jazz control the boards tonight to help them to their first victory of the season. It will be a close game that the Jazz will have to learn how to finish. The Celtics won’t go quietly, as they also will look to try and earn their first victory in front of their home crowd. Look for Jeff Green to try and propel the Celtics late in the fourth quarter. Still, my prediction will be that the Jazz pull out the win on the road.
Jazz 94, Celtics 90