The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a pivotal showdown between Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz at TD Garden.
10:30 (AEDT), Wed 17th Mar @ TD Garden, Boston
History: Played 101: Celtics 58 V Jazz 43
Last meeting: February 9, 2021: Jazz 122 d Celtics 108 at Vivint Smart Home Arena
Final Thoughts: The NBA-leading Utah Jazz have endured a few stumbles either side of the All-Star break. The will attempt to get back on track in Boston against a Celtics side that is showing signs of turning things around.
The Celtics – fifth in the East – have improved to 20-18 after winning five of their last six games. Prior to that, they went on a dreadful 4-8 run.
Boston came out of the break with a 121-109 loss to the Nets, but rallied with a 134-107 beatdown of the struggling Rockets. Marcus Smart’s long-awaited return (he has made two appearances off the bench so far) should see the Celtics’ resurgence continue.
Utah won 11 straight in January and put together another nine-game streak in February. But they have slipped to 28-10 – still good for best in the league, mind you – by losing three of their last four.
The Jazz’s one win was against the Rockets (114-99) after the All-Star break, before they crashed 131-119 to the Warriors. That defeat came despite a monumental individual display from Rudy Gobert, who top-scored with 24 points and pulled down a ridiculous 28 rebounds.
The Jazz have won four of their last five against the Celtics, including the teams’ clash in Salt Lake City last month.
Donovan Mitchell (36 pts, 9 ast) led the way in the 122-108 victory. Joe Ingles (24 pts, 6 ast) and Rudy Gobert (18 pts, 12 reb) were also prominent. Jaylen Brown (33 pts, 8 reb) was the best of the beaten Celtics.
Despite their recent rut, the Jazz head into this road trip as $1.53 favourites. They are 12-8 on the road (11-9 ATS) but have lost their last three away. The Celtics are a strong 12-5 at home (11-6 ATS) and have won four straight at TD Garden.
I’m willing to get behind Boston with the points in this one.
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