The Jazz and the Cs will tip things off from TD Garden at 5:30 PM MT on Saturday. However, they were down big to one of the worst teams in the league.
The Celtics were embarrassed on the parquet floor, following up that stirring victory over the Raptors by being flat. But the team's fast start has quickly revived those odds, vaulting Toronto to a +850 championship bet, behind only the Golden State Warriors. "We just didn't have it". They shot just 39 percent from the field, 15 percent from beyond the arc and 55 percent from the charity stripe.
Previous to that, the last time such a stat line was produced by Antoine Walker of the Boston Celtics, who put up 35 shots without an assist in defeat January 7, 1998. Saturday night was one of the Celtics' better nights when it came to rebounding the ball, winning the rebounding battle 51-45. The Celtics have been hoisting up 3-pointers at an alarming rate as well, averaging 36.4 triples per game which is good for third in the National Basketball Association. When he gets into that mode, the whole arena knew where we were going, and so did the Raptors. It was an emotional win for us. "You've got to appreciate that, two great teams going at it". To do that against a Utah team that has been among the best rebounding clubs this season is a definite positive. "If we're able to do that, we'll have a chance to be special". I've seen it with some people that I knew growing up.
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Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 31 points, while Rudy Gobert finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a block in 28 minutes. On the road he gave them the green light to make a 20-point comeback against the Suns when most coaches would have pulled their starters that deep into the fourth quarter, and last Friday in Utah he made excuses for his team's shortcomings - pointing to the fact that Boston was in the midst of the most hard schedule in the league, a team that was exhausted from a grueling five-game road trip. He was leading the Celtics with 16 points at the time. In came Guerschon Yabusele, Brad Wanamaker, Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye to counter Utah's run. He said we've got to fix this s***. "It can't only be one or two guys doing the things we all have to do and be consistent with it". Guys fill the need when that opportunity is there.
Through 16 games, the Celtics' head coach has been patient with his group's progress.
Toronto led by eight early in the fourth quarter and still had a 107-103 lead with 90 seconds left. Mitchell is at the top of Jazz opponents' scouting reports every single night, and teams are spending significant defensive resources to stop him.
While the loss of Green will be a tough pill to swallow, the Raptors are getting plenty of production from the rest of their lineup, making many believe that this may be the team to break out in the East. "I don't think that was anybody's mindset when (Hayward) left".