BOSTON CELTICS AT UTAH JAZZ
December 29, 2007
9:00 PM EST (Comcast SportsNet)
EnergySolutions Arena (Salt Lake City, UT)
Announcers: Mike An-Gorman-agement and Donny "We Are" Marshall ; Dr. Laura BehnkeTommy "Want to Touch the" Heinsohn (in-studio) ; Greg "Old Saint" Dickerson (sideline reporter).
Celtics Starting Lineup: Rayden, I've Got a Rajon Rondo, Perk'd Off, Kevvy G, Da Troof
Jazz Starting Lineup: Ronnie "Milwaukee" Brewer, Duran-Deron Williams, Mehmet Did It Ever Okur To You, Carlos Boozer Brody, I Would Walk Ten Thousand CJ Miles
We've been down this road with the Patriots over and over again ... Suffice it to say, if you could tear yourself away from tonight's matchup against the New York Giants (and the quest for a perfect regular season), there's a little ol' basketball game going on in the city with the salty lake that you might be interested in.
Furthermore, while it's not as sexy as "16-and-oh", the C's are attempting to surpass their win total from all of last season (24) before the month of January ... I think you'd agree that this would be rather impressive.
The Jazz, meanwhile, are coming off a double-digit loss to the Lakers last night (109-123), so it's a toss-up on whether it's fatigue or wounded pride that will be effecting their play tonight.
Boozer scores on the left-handed layup to open the game, while at the other end Allen misses the outside jumpshot over Okur; Perkins grabs the offensive board, but then tries to kick the ball out to Pierce and it winds up over his head and out of bounds
Utah regains possession, however Rondo steals the ball from Williams and sends it upcourt to Ray, who finds KG under the basket for the layup (2-all 11:00).
Miles answers with a three-pointer, then Pierce misses the fallaway jumper, but Garnett pulls down an offensive rebound of his own. He kicks the ball out to Rondo at the top of the key, where he finds Ray spotting up in the corner. Instead of taking the shot, he tries to pass inside to Perk, but that turns out to be the wrong move, as Miles gets a hand on it and Okur comes away with the loose ball.
We head back the other way, as Boozer passes inside to Miles, and he tries to score on the layup over Allen; his shot comes up short, as Rondo takes down the rebound. He makes his way up the floor, then finds Ray who knocks down the 20-footer (4-5 9:12).
Okur tries the jumpshot with KG in his face, and winds up shooting an airball (cue the Nelson Muntz "ha HA!" WAV file); Rondo secures the rebound, then dribbles coast to coast and finishes with a layup (6-5 8:37).
A three-pointer by Allen gives the Celts a four-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the quarter, then Deron loses Rajon off the dribble and knocks down the pullup "jay" (11-9 6:48).
Rondo tries to answer by driving down the lane and is able to draw the foul on Williams, so he steps to the line but can only make one-of-two free throws (12-9 6:37).
Brewer and Garnett trade baskets, then Matt "Lord of the" Harpring (just into the game) is left wide open for the 15-footer (14-13 5:34); the Jazz are off to a good start offensively, hitting six of their first nine shots.
Pierce then misses (the Celts, meanwhile, are 6-for-11 from the floor), but Perkins grabs the offensive rebound (Boston does have a 7-to-1 edge on the boards) and scores on the hook shot (16-13 5:09).
A basket by Harpring with 3:45 on the clock gets Utah within one, then Rondo tries to score on the layup but comes up short; not only that, but he ends up fouling Boozer going for the rebound ... Oooh, Rajon seems to have tweaked his knee during that scuffle (not good), as the Jazz regain possession and Williams makes the bounce pass to Boozer standing at the free-throw line where he buries the jumper (20-21 3:10). Man, Utah's still shooting the lights out, as they have made eight of their last nine shots.
Rondo drives down the lane and fakes a pass to Allen before scoring on the layup (grimacing all the way) to put Boston back ahead, then he gives the (intentional?) foul to Williams at the other end of the floor. He limps to the bench with 2:33 to go in the quarter, as Hugh Laurie comes in to take over the point-guard position ... It's still Jazz ball, though, as Harpring muscles his way in over Pierce for the layup (22-23 2:25).
Wow, it seems like the home team can't miss tonight, as a basket by Paul "General" Millsap gives Utah the three-point edge ... However, Allen quickly answers with another three-pointer (25-all 1:18).
Parker Posey is subbed into the game at this point to try and up the defensive intensity ... Sure enough, he and House pressure Jason Hart-Foundation in the backcourt and nearly force the turnover. However, Jason is able to recover and forces up an off-balance jumpshot as the shot clock expires, and it still goes in (25-27 :52.1)! See what I told you about the Jazz being unable to miss?
House drains a trey with 31 seconds remaining, but Utah won't be denied tonight, as Millsap makes his way into the paint and drains the fallaway jumper over Eddie (28-29 :15.2).
Celts can't get a shot off, as the quarter ends with Boston still trailing 28 to 29 ... A scorcher for the Jazz thus far, as they're shooting SEVENTY PERCENT from the field (14-20 FG)! The funny thing is, Boston ain't too shabby themselves (11-18 FG), so that's why the game is as close as it is.
House, Glen "Macrosomia" Davis, Posey, Ray, and Allan Tony start the quarter ... Meanwhile, Posey is called for the foul on Okur while he's taking the shot, so Mehmet steps to the line and makes one-of-two free throws (28-30 11:15).
Tony then misses, and Davis tries to save the rebound from going out of bounds, but sends the ball right to Harpring (dangit); he takes it up the floor, then finds Milsap under the basket, who misses the shot but is able to tip it in himself (28-32 10:50).
House answers with another three-pointer (Boston is now 4-for-4 from beyond the arc), but at the other end Deron is left wide open and knocks down the 20-footer (31-34 10:15).
A basket by "Big Baby" gets the C's back within one, then Miles buries the turnaround "jay" with Tony right in his face (33-36 9:11); sheesh, they really can't miss tonight!
Ray buries a trey (the longball has been Boston's saving grace thus far) to tie the game, but at the other end Hart gets into the act by draining the 18-foot jumper (36-38 8:36); Utah has made four of their first six shots to open the second quarter (eep).
House tries to answer with another three-point attempt, but is wide of the mark. However, Davis grabs the offensive board and is fouled trying to score on the putback. The rookie lets out a little "war cry" as his teammates help him up off the floor (which draws some boos from the crowd), as he steps to the line and makes both free throws to get his team within one (37-38 8:11) ... If the C's want to keep this game close, they'll need to improve their free-throw percentage (4-10 FT).
Okur then misses the fallaway jumpshot over Posey, and "Big Baby" snares the rebound. He passes to House, who dribbles upcourt, then finds Ray in the lane but he misses the little bunny. Millsap grabs the rebound and heads back the other way, where he tries to pass to Miles and it appears that he loses the ball out of bounds; however, the refs say that Tony was the last to touch it, so Utah retains possession with 7:33 remaining in the half.
During the stoppage of play, Garnett and Pierce come back into the game (as Davis and Ray Allen take a seat) ... However, they are powerless to stop Miles from scoring on the 15-foot jumper (37-40 7:20).
At the other end, KG comes up short on the jumpshot, but gets his own rebound and kicks the ball out to Pierce. He tries a three-point shot which comes up short, however Garnett winds up with another offensive board (nice) and gets the ball back to Pierce. He passes right back to Kevin, as the defense collapses around him; rather than force the issue, KG kicks it out to Tony who buries the 18-footer (39-40 6:40).
Posey then knocks the ball out of Williams' hands and out of bounds with 6:13 on the clock; Rondo comes into the game at this point after a long absence to replace House (luckily, it looks to be some cramping in his hamstring that was causing the problem and not the knee, whew!). However, it looks like he got a little cold spending all that time on the bench, as Deron is able to lose him behind a pick from Boozer and Rajon isn't quick enough to get back and cover him as he pulls up for the three-point shot and buries it (39-43 6:09)! Egads, Utah is now 20-for-29 from the floor!
Glenn Rivers M.D. needs a timeout, and when play resumes KG backs down Boozer before knocking down the turnaround jumper (41-43 5:37).
Miles answers with the floater over Posey (this is nuts), then Garnett makes a sweet over-the-shoulder pass to Tony under the basket for the layup (43-45 4:58); Boston now has 14 assists on 17 baskets (not too shabby).
T-Allen then bumps Williams off the shot, putting him at the line where he makes one-of-two foul shots with 4:40 to go. At the other end, Garnett again tries to back down Boozer, as he forces up the off-balance shot but still finds the bottom of the net (45-46 4:19); Gorman: "Nice ad lib by KG!"
Tony is then whistled for another foul trying to cover Boozer, so Carlos heads to the charity stripe with four minutes left in the half (the other Allen comes in to replace Tony, while Perkins also comes back into the game for Posey); Utah's big man then proceeds to miss both free throws, as the Jazz are now 2-for-6 as a team from the line.
Unfortunately, the Celts can't capitalize, as Pierce tries to throw a lazy pass to Rondo and Williams easily picks it off. He hustles back the other way, and Rajon accidentally trips him up trying to stop his forward momentum; that's Rondo's third foul already, so he has to head bac kto the bench while House comes in to replace him. Meanwhile, Brewer is able to elude Ray off the dribble and buries the jumper (45-48 3:40).
Doc calls another timeout, and when play resumes Perk backs down Boozer and scores on the fallaway "jay" (47-48 3:18); that's eight points (3-5 FG) for Kendrick.
Pierce is then called for the foul away from the ball on Miles, sending him to the line for two free throws. With his team now down by three, Paul tries to makes his way down the lane, but CJ strips him and Boozer collects the loose ball. He gives it to Williams, who goes the length of the floor and tries to take it in over Ray for the layup; his shot misses, but Millsap is in perfect position to tip it in (47-52 2:44)!
Allen then misses from three-point range, but Perkins grabs the offensive board and tries to score on the putback. However, Millsap comes up with the big rejection as the ball sails out of bounds; Boston retains possession, and Ray finds KG for the pullup jumper (49-52 2:05); Kevin now has 12 points (6-7 FG).
Miles then airballs a three-point attempt (!) and Allen collects the rebound. He dribbles coast to coast and finds Pierce wide open behind the arc, but his shot clanks off the rim (Paul now has zero points on 0-for-5 shooting!) and Millsap hauls down the carom. He gives it to Deron who takes it back the other way, then tries to pass inside to Boozer but Perkins picks it off.
A nice defensive play from our young center, but he gets a bit too overzealous and tries to make a fullcourt pass to House that winds up somewhere in the second row (for Boston's eight turnover of the half). Utah regains possession, and Williams slices down the lane between two defenders for the layup (49-54 :31.6); ugh.
Celts hold for (close to) the last shot, as KG tries to force the ball inside to Pierce, but Millsap picks off the pass and sends it upcourt to Deron. He has only House to beat on the 2-on-1 fast break, so he makes the bounce pass inside to Brewer, and Eddie tries to tie him up but gets him around the neck and sends Ronnie crashing to the floor (ouch).
He's alright, but the crowd wants a flagrant foul, and the refs oblige as Brewer heads to the line where he makes both free throws (49-56 :05.0); the Jazz still have possession, but Millsap comes up short on the layup attempt, as the score remains 49 to 56 at halftime ... Utah continues to have the hot shooting touch (24-37 FG). The only reason they're not blowing Boston out of the water is because the C's are still shooting 49 percent themselves (20-41 FG) and are outrebounding their opponents 20 to 12.
However, the Celts do have nine turnovers (the Jazz have just four), so they'll have to be a little more careful handling the ball if they want to give themselves a chance to pull out a victory tonight.
Pierce opens the second half by taking the ball aggressively to the basket, and is able to draw the foul on Miles. So, he steps up to the line and makes both free throws for his first points of the night (51-56 11:52); yikes.
Williams is then called for a palming violation, as Boston regains possession and Pierce winds up with a three-pointer (54-56 10:54); watch out, Paul is heating up (5 PTS, 1-7 FG)!
Two free throws by Okur put Utah's lead back up to four, then Pierce works the baseline around Miles and gives him the pumpfake to draw the foul; not only that, but he's still able to score the layup, so he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (57-58 10:29).
That's Miles' third foul, so Harpring comes in to replace him. Meanwhile, Rondo strips Williams of the ball, but Boozer is able to recover and gets it back to Deron. He then makes a no-look pass inside to Harpring for the open layup (57-60 10:09); ah, that was a missed opportunity.
Sure enough, the momentum seems to be back in Utah's favor, as a basket by Williams puts the deficit back up to five. KG then misses the fallaway jumpshot over Boozer, and Okur pulls down the rebound. He passes to Deron, who dribbles up the floor before passing back to Mehmet open behind the three-point line, and the 6-foot-11 center buries it (57-65 8:28)!
Another basket by Pierce (he's a man on a mission now!) gets the C's within six, then Boozer pulls up over Perk for the 15-footer (59-67 7:18) ... However, Boston hasn't given up yet, as Paul is double-teamed in the paint, so he gives the ball to Rondo. He makes a nice bounce pass inside to Perkins for the layup while being fouled by Okur, and he makes the free throw to complete the three-point play (62-67 6:58).
Williams scores again, then Ray misses the three-point attempt and Perkins tips the loose rebound out of bounds (for the record, Pierce is 4-for-5 from the field in the quarter, while the rest of his teammates are a combined 1-of-7). The Jazz regain possession, but Okur misses the jumpshot and KG hauls down the 'bound.
He passes to Rondo, who dribbles coast to coast and tries to finish with the layup, but Mehmet makes his way into the play to block the shot into the stands! Nice defensive play, but Boston retains possession and Garnett knocks down the 15-foot jumper (64-69 5:21).
Pierce then picks off a pass by Williams, and sends the ball up ahead to Ray who takes it in for the layup (66-69 4:54).
It's a four-point deficit with two minutes left in the quarter, when Posey misses the three-point attempt, but Ray grabs the offensive board and quickly pulls up for the short jumper (74-76 1:45).
Boozer then misses, and Rondo comes away with the rebound as the C's have a chance to tie or take the lead ... He passes inside to Garnett, who tries to score on the layup but is absolutely swallowed up by Boozer (could've been a foul called there, in my opinion). Carlos winds up with the ball and passes to Deron, as he heads back the other way and passes inside to Millsap for the layup (74-78 1:09).
The crowd is getting loud now, as Ray tries to make the bounce pass inside to Rondo, but he wasn't expecting the bass as the ball bounces harmlessly out of bounds ... Utah regains possession with 39.7 seconds left (as Davis and T-Allen are in to replace Garnett and Ray), and Hart goes for broke with the three-point attempt but comes up short.
However, Millsap grabs the offensive board, and tries to pass inside to Harpring ... Not so fast, as Posey comes away with the steal, and Matt ends up fouling him trying to take the ball back. The Jazz are over the limit, so James heads to the line and makes both free throws (76-78 :22.1).
Brewer misses a shot at the buzzer, as the score remains 76 to 78 (Jazz) heading into the final stanza.
A three-pointer by House gives Boston their first lead since the first quarter (wow), then Tony strips Williams of the ball and takes it all the way in for the layup (81-78 11:03)!
Harpring then fumbles the ball trying to make a move down the lane, and Allen winds up with another steal ... He takes it strong to the basket and is fouled by Millsap, so he heads to the line and makes both free throws (83-78 9:55).
Tony then strips Deron of the ball (for his third steal in less than three minutes!) and has a wide-open path to the basket ... He goes up for the two-hand slam, but (obviously still tentative with that knee) winds up blowing the dunk! Luckily, Posey is right underneath the basket and ends up getting fouled by Okur going for the rebound; Boston retains possession with 9:40 on the clock, but House front-rims a three-point attempt (dangit!) and Okur lets the ball bounce out of bounds.
Utah has a chance to build some momentum now, as Okur knocks down the 20-footer (83-80 9:17).
However, at the other end Pierce gives the pumpfake to get Harpring in the air, as he absorbs the contact to draw the foul and heads to the line for both free throws (85-80 8:56) ... After going scoreless in the first half, Paul has come on strong with 12 points (3-10 FG).
Williams then tries to pass inside to Harpring with Pierce covering him, but it seems as if Matt wants to work on his acting chops (maybe he fancies himself as the next Matt Damon) as he gives a world-class flop job to try and fool the refs ... Luckily, they don't bite, as the ball rolls out of bounds for the turnover. Boston regains possession, and Pierce knocks down another trey (88-80 7:49)!
Pierce is letting us know why people call him "The Truth", as Boozer misses the shot and Posey secures the rebound. He passes to House, who finds Paul in the paint; he takes it in against Harpring and misses the shot, but gets his own rebound and lays it in (90-82 7:06).
Things are looking good ... until the Jazz run off six straight points (including a three-point from Okur and an uncontested layup by Deron) to cut the lead down to just two! The Celts call a timeout with 5:59 left in the game, and when play resumes KG winds up being double-teamed. He gets out of it by making the nice pass inside to Rajon who appears to score on the layup, but waive off the basket as Tony is called for the offensive foul away from the ball (he was using his hands to keep Williams out of the paint).
Ugh, the Jazz regain possession, as Okur is covered nicely by Posey with the shot clock winding down. Unable to get the ball to one of his teammates, Mehmet is forced to throw up a three-point attempt as the buzzer sounds, but is able to bank it in (90-91 5:11)!
Garnett tries to answer, but misses the shot and Boozer pulls down the rebound. He passes upcourt to Williams, who gets the ball inside to Okur, but Pierce winds up blocking the shot (!) and Rondo recovers the loose ball. We head back the other way, as Rajon passes inside to Ray who scores on the finger roll (92-91 4:27).
Deron scores to put Utah back ahead, then Pierce is fouled by Boozer so he heads to the line and sinks both free throws (94-93 3:49).
Williams makes two foul shots of his own, while Paul makes another strong move to the basket to draw the foul (this time on Brewer), however he can only make one-of-two from the line (95-all 2:53).
That means that the Jazz have the ball with a chance to take the lead ... However, Rondo strips Williams (yes!) and Ray recovers the loose ball. He gets it back to Rajon, who tries to set up the offense but Utah is playing some great defense (with the crowd roaring their approval). He winds up giving the ball back to Allen with the shot clock winding down, so Ray pulls up for the three-point attempt at the buzzer - with Miles right on him - and buries it (98-95 2:19)!
A basket by Boozer with 1:22 remaining gets Utah within one, as Doc calls a 20-second timeout. When play resumes, Pierce misses the jumpshot over Brewer, and Carlos nabs the rebound. He passes upcourt to Williams, who tries to drive down the lane before kicking it out to Brewer.
Unable to get a shot off, he passes inside to Boozer, who's fouled by Pierce going for the layup ... That's Paul's fifth foul (he stays in the game), as Carlos heads to the line and makes the first free throw but misses the second (!) and Rondo winds up with the loose rebound (98-all :43.8).
No timeout here, as Rondo brings it up the floor and passes to Pierce, who's covered by Brewer but blows right past him and goes in for layup (100-98 :28.3).
Miles then goes for the lead but misses the three-point attempt, and Pierce pulls down the rebound. At first, the Utah players don't seem to realize that they need to commit the foul or else Boston will run out the clock, but someone finally wises up and grabs Paul. That puts him at the line, where he calmly makes both foul shots (102-98 :11.9).
Jerry "Savings And" Sloan calls for time, and when play resumes Williams tries the three-point attempt over Tony but backrims it. Pierce gets himself another rebound, and (before the Jazz can react) he sends a fullcourt pass ahead to T-Allen, who is wide open for the layup - doesn't wanna take a chance with the dunk! - to put this game away (104-98 :01.4)!
It was touch-and-go for awhile there, but the Celts come away with the hard-fought 104-to-98 victory ...
GAME RATING : 15 (Slam Dunk)
TONIGHT'S C.O.G (CELT OF THE GAME): Paul Pierce
BOSTON TOP PERFORMERS:
- Pierce: 42 MIN, 24 PTS (6-17 FG, 10-11 FT) , 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL
- R. Allen: 38 MIN, 23 PTS (9-15 FG, 5-9 3PTers), 4 REB, 3 AST
- Garnett: 36 MIN, 15 PTS (7-13 FG), 9 REB
- Perkins: 22 MIN, 11 PTS (4-8 FG), 9 REB (5 OFF)
- T. Allen: 15 MIN, 10 PTS (4-7 FG), 3 STL
- Rondo: 29 MIN, 7 PTS (3-8 FG), 7 AST, 3 STL
UTAH TOP PERFORMERS:
- Williams: 42 MIN, 22 PTS (9-13 FG), 11 AST, 7 TO
- Boozer: 41 MIN, 19 PTS (9-13 FG), 11 REB
- Okur: 30 MIN, 14 PTS (4-14 FG), 5 REB, 4 AST
- Millsap: 21 MIN, 10 PTS (5-7 FG), 5 REB
- Andrei Kirilenko My Eggo did not play for the Jazz tonight (shoulder injury) ... Neither did recent acquisition Ashton Korver, who had just been traded to Utah from Philadelphia (sports.yahoo.com).
- The Jazz ended up shooting 55 percent from the field (40-73 FG), with the Celts up around 46 percent themselves (37-80 FG), including 10-for-21 from three-point land.
- Tony Allen was tonight's Tommy Award winner.