The Celtics look to finish road trip with a win against the Jazz in spite of fatigue and playing short handed.
Boston Celtics (29-27) at Utah Jazz (31-25)
Monday, February 25
9:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #57 Road Game #27
TV: NBA-TV, CSN-NE, ROOT
Radio: WEEI, KTAR
Energy Solutions Arena
Referees: Bill Spooner, John Goble, Kevin Scott
Game Thread l Chat
Boston Celtics Tickets
The Celtics finish their 5 game road trip on a back to back against a tough Jazz team. The Celtics have lost all 6 games that are the second of back to backs on the road this season. They have also won only 1 road game against the Western Conference this season, and that was the Suns.
The Jazz are a very good home team with a 21-6 record. The Celtics haven't been a good road team this season with just a 9-18 record away from the Garden. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games and both are coming off a loss. The Celtics beat the Jazz at the Garden 98-93 back in November.
The Celtics are trying to incorporate two new players. Both played great against the Suns but faltered somewhat against the Blazers. The Celtics may also have a third new player if DJ White's paperwork comes through from China. The Celtics need to get contributions from them, especially playing in back to back games.
This will be a tough game to win, coming at the tail end of their west coast road trip, and the second of back to back games. They need to bring their lock down defense and be more aggressive in going to the basket. The Jazz always play physical basketball and so the Celtics have to be ready to punch back and be aggressive.
PG: Avery Bradley
SG: Courtney Lee
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
SG: Randy Foye
PF Paul Millsap
Mo Williams (thumb) out
Kevin Garnett vs Al Jefferson
KG will be matched up against former Celtic Big Al Jefferson, who was a key member of the trade that brought KG to Boston. Big Al has been playing well and is a handful around the basket KG will need to go inside to defend Al. Al's defense has always been his weak link and so KG should have a good game offensively.
Brandon Bass vs Paul Milsap
Millsap is a tough matchup and has been playing well. Bass will need to up his defense to keep Millsap's scoring down and he will also need to box out as Millsap is a danger around the hoop and a good rebounder.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics will need to make defense a priority in every game but especially against the Jazz as they have some very good scorers and the Celtics will have trouble winning a shoot out. They have to get stops if they want to win the game.
Rebound The Celtics need to be aggressive in crashing the boards as a team. Utah is a big team and they are also a good rebounding team. The Celtics must be aggressive on the boards as a team if they want to win this game.
Bench The Jazz have a very strong bench and the Celtics reserves will need to play well in this game in order for the game not to get out of control while the starters rest. The new players have to continue to fit in and play well.
Be Aggressive Sometimes the Celtics get passive and when they do, they always struggle and always seem to pick up a lot more fouls. The Celtics must be aggressive and go strong to the basket, go after loose balls and crash the boards.
Back to Back on the Road
The Celtics are playing in yet another back to back set on the road. It is the final game on the road trip and fatigue could be setting in. It will take a monumental effort from each player to win this game.
Over the past 23 seasons, veteran official Bill Spooner has worked 1,281 regular season games and 87 NBA playoff games. He officiated his first two Finals games during the 2010-11 season. In addition to his NBA experience, Spooner has seven years of collegiate officiating experience. He also has eight years of high school officiating experience in his home state of California. Spooner is the ref who failed to call Kobe's elbow to the throat of Ron Artest a couple years back, even though he was the ref in position to call it. Artest's complaints resulted in his ejection but nothing was called on Kobe in the game. The league later admitted their error and assessed Kobe a flagrant 1 for the elbow. But that didn't help Houston who had to play without Artest the rest of the game. Spooner is also the ref that was caught by a reporter telling Kurt Rambis that he would make up for a bad call he made on the other end.
The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Spooner while the are Jazz 0-2 this season and 3-7 in their last 10. The only game he called this season was a loss to Milwaukee where the Celtics took 21 free throws to 12 for the Bucks. His home W/L record this season is 12-7.
John Goble enters his fifth season having officiated 314 regular season games and 13 playoff games. He also officiated the 2010 NBA All- Star Rookie/Sophmore game. Prior to working in the NBA, Goble officiated 104 games over four seasons in the NBA Development League and was selected to officiate the 2007 NBA D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southeastern Conference, where he was a tournament official in 2006 and 2007, and the Sunshine State Conference. Goble received a Bachelors degree in Physical Education from Florida International University, and worked as an account executive and a teacher before joining the NBA. Seems odd that Goble already has worked the playoffs with just 4 years of experience and others have been in the league 12 years or more and haven't cracked the playoff rotation yet.
Goble was the referee who called the clothesline on Barbosa in the first Nets game a regular foul. He also called a foul at the end of the game on an obvious clean steal that could have changed the outcome of the game. The second game that Goble called was vs the Cavs and the officiating was good for the most part. The Celtics are 6-4 over their last 10 games that Goble has officiated and 1-1 this season. The Jazz are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Goble and 3-0 this season. His home W/L record this season is 30-17.
Kevin Scott enters his second NBA season having officiated 28 regular season games. Scott’s experience includes four seasons and 138 games officiated in the NBA DLeague where he officiated the playoffs in 2009, 2010, 2011 and was selected to work the NBA DLeague Finals in 2011. Scott’s collegiate experience includes four years in the Southeastern Conference, 10 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, six years in the Southern Conference, and seven years in the Big South Conference. He was also one of the replacement officials during the referee lockout in 2009. He may be remembered for ejecting Bobcats'coach Larry Brown from an exhibition game that season and then calling security to escort him from the court when he didn't leave quickly enough for Scott. Brown was fined $60,000 for verbally abusing Scott.
This will be Scott's fifth career game for the Celtics and the Celtics are 3-1 with Scott in his career. The first was a win over NJ where the Nets shot 28 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. The second was against the Bobcats where the Celtics shot 45 free throws to 35 for Charlotte and every play seemed to result in a foul. The third was vs the Wizards where the Celtics shot 34 free throws to 7 for the Wizards and the Celtics seemed to get the benefit of a lot of close calls. The last game was at Cleveland where both teams took 22 free throws and the officiating was good for the most part. The Jazz are 1-1 with Scott over his career. This is his first game with the Jazz this season. His home W/L record this season is 23-10.