Utah Jazz (19-36, 12-16 home) vs Boston Celtics (19-38, 8-21 road)
Tip Off @ 7:00 pm MST
Regular Season Series 2 of 2 (Celtics 1-0)
The Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics enter tonight’s game, both on losing streaks. If you ask the players, they’re looking to turn those losing streaks around. If you ask some fans who are worried about the “tank race”, then they hope their team keeps on losing.
These two teams met earlier in the season, both having a record that started with zero wins. The Celtics pulled off a victory over the Jazz to earn their first win of the season. Both teams were without their point guards in that game. Rajon Rondo was recovering from his ACL injury, and Trey Burke was recovering from a broken index finger. Both players will be available for tonight’s game.
Boston’s last game was a road game at the Sacramento Kings. Boston was missing three starters in that game, and ended up on the losing end, 105-98. The Jazz played the Minnesota Timberwolves at home on Saturday night during their last game, and gave up a triple-double to Kevin Love in route to a 121-104 loss.
Key Matchup: Trey Burke vs Rajon Rondo
Boston will get Rondo back into the lineup tonight. Rondo played on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, but sat out Saturday nights game against the Kings to rest his ACL. Rondo presents another tough matchup for Trey Burke, as he has seen his fair share of tough matchups in the last week.
After returning from break, Trey went head-to-head against Deron Williams, Damian Lillard, and Ricky Rubio. Even though the result was a loss for the Jazz, Trey played well. Over the last three games, Trey is averaging 17 points and 7.7 assists per game. Rondo, after coming back from his ACL surgery, is averaging 10.2 points and 7.7 assists per game.
Rondo presents a lot of challenges. Rondo has a way of getting to the basket and drawing in defenses. He has a great ability to open up plays for his teammates. A lot of these problems that Rondo creates, Trey is beginning to create those same problems. Trey also is hitting his jump shots as of late and that creates another problem for opposing defenses. Trey has held his own in the last week, and it will be interesting to see how he matches up with Rondo.
Both teams are headed for the lottery this off season. Both teams are in rebuild mode, more so the Celtics than the Jazz. The Celtics are trying to build around Rondo now that they have let Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce leave. The Jazz are one piece away from giving them a solid core for the future. With Boston on a four game losing streak, and the Jazz on a three game losing streak, somebody is going to break through.
Boston will be without their big man Jared Sullinger, who suffered a mild concussion. The Celtics will also be without guard Avery Bradley, who has missed 11 of their last 14 games with an ankle injury. On the Jazz front, they could be without big man Derrick Favors for the tenth time this season. The Jazz are 0-9 when Favors is out.
I believe the Jazz can win this game, but if they are going to win, Gordon Hayward needs to break out of the slump he is in. After Saturday night’s terrible performance, Hayward left the locker room without speaking to the media, something that is very uncommon of Gordon. With as frustrated as he looked Saturday, I think he will come out with a lot of focus tonight and try to break out of his slump.
Jazz 101, Celtics 92