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Celtics Continue Road Trip in Utah

Update: Join us in the chat room early if you want to chat about the Pats game.



Boston Celtics (24-3) at  Utah Jazz (16-14) 
Saturday, December 29
9:00 PM ET
Game # 28, Road Game #13
TV:   NBA LP ch 757, KJZZ, CSN
Sirius 130
Energy Solutions Arena (formerly the Delta Center)
Chat    l    Game Thread   

Jazz Coverage   Basketball John       l    All Jazzed Up     

The Celtics are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights but had the night before off.   The Jazz are playing the second of back to back games so fatigue could be a factor for both teams.  Bench play will be important in this game for both teams.   The Jazz were manhandled by the Lakers last night 123-109 and will be looking to bounce back from that loss.  

Utah has a winning record at 16-14 but are just 3-7 in their last 10 games.  They are 10-2 at home though and will be a tough team to face in their own building  in spite of their recent slump. This game is considered the first real test for the Celtics as the first two teams they played on the trip aren't considered contenders.   In spite of the wins over the Kings and the Sonics, if the Celtics lose to the Jazz and Lakers, the questions about  the Celtics will remain. 


Probable Starting Matchups
PG    Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams
SG    Ray Allen vs Ronnie Brewer
SF    Paul Pierce vs Andre Kirilenko  
PF    Kevin Garnett vs Carlos Boozer
C      Kendrick Perkins vs Mehmet Okur
Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo    PPG 9.8 | APG 5.2 | SPG 1.9
Deron Williams    PPG 19.8 | APG 8.8 | SPG 1.2
Williams is a very good young point guard who is a scoring threat along with being able to find the open man.  This will be a challenge for Rondo to defend him.  He is also a good defender  and Rondo will need to make him stay at home on defense or he will be able to double off Rondo to make things difficult for the other starters.  
Kevin Garnett    PPG 18.7 | RPG 10.3 | BPG 1.5
Carlos Boozer    PPG 24.6 | RPG 11.6 | BPG 0.6
Boozer leads the Jazz in points and rebounds and KG will need to concentrate on defending him along with making him work on the other end of the floor as well. 
Keys to the game
Play Defense
.   The Jazz have 5 players who are averaging double figures in scoring.  The Celtics will need to defend both inside and on the perimeter as they are dangerous both inside and out.   They will especially need to stop Boozer and Williams.   
Ball movement.  When the Celtics move the ball and move without the ball to get open, they are very efficient offensively.  When they resort to ISO's and try to do too much individually, they struggle. 
Limit turnovers.  Against the Sonics, the Celtics committed only 5 turnovers and that helped them to pull out a game in which they shot only 39% from the floor. As the starters get fatigued their shooting percentage will go down and they will need to improve in other areas like limiting turnovers to pull out the win.  Limiting turnovers will also  limit the Jazz' fast break points.   
Bench play   Playing in their 3rd game in 4 nights, fatigue may be a factor and the bench will need to step up and contribute to allow the starters to get some rest. 

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