Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Preview for Digital Sports Desk By Gracenote
SALT LAKE – All-Star forward Jayson Tatum takes aim at his fifth consecutive strong performance when the Boston Celtics visit the Utah Jazz tonight. Tatum made a career-high eight 3-pointers and poured in 36 points as Boston recorded a 118-106 road win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.
Tatum also matched his career high of 41 points and had a 39-point outing during the recent stretch in which he is averaging 36 points while going 21-of-39 from 3-point range. “I’m just trying to play free,” Tatum said in a postgame television interview after the Celtics posted their 13th win in the past 16 games. “Go out there and do what I love. I love coming here and playing basketball with my guys and trying to win. Hopefully we keep winning.”
Utah has lost three straight games – all at home – and concern grew after Monday’s 131-111 loss to the struggling Phoenix Suns. “When you play the way we’ve been playing, there’s a lot more bad than good right now,” small forward Joe Ingles said after the loss. “It’s draining. … It’s just embarrassing.”
TIME: 10:30 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN, NBCS Boston, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, Sportsnet One
ABOUT THE CELTICS (40-17): The 21-year-old Tatum has scored 30 or more points on 10 occasions this season and has picked up the pace while All-Star point guard Kemba Walker (knee) has missed the past three contests. Shooting guard Jaylen Brown contributed 24 points and seven rebounds against Portland as he continues to be a solid scoring option. “They’re really great complements. They really are,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters of the duo. “They’ve done a great job playing off of one another.”
ABOUT THE JAZZ (36-21): All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points against Phoenix but was lacking for answers after the latest subpar performance by his team. “I love our coaching staff,” Mitchell told reporters. “They break it down, every detail. That’s why this hurts a little bit because at some point you can give us every answer to the exam but we’ve got to go out there and do our own part.” The 131 points allowed was the second worst of the season by the Jazz, who compounded their issues by committing 20 turnovers.
- The Jazz have won three of the past four meetings.
- Boston SF Gordon Hayward had 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting while being jeered every time he touched the ball in last season’s appearance in Salt Lake City, his first since departing the franchise after seven seasons to join the Celtics as a free agent.
- Utah All-Star center Rudy Gobert became the fifth player in franchise history to record 1,000 career blocked shots.