The Utah Jazz (24-35) have almost the same exact record as the Celtics, but they have no chance of making the playoffs. The Boston Celtics (23-35) on the other hand are in the postseason race, two games back from the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics host the Jazz on Wednesday.
Both clubs will be playing the second night of back to backs as Utah looks for a season-best fourth straight win and Boston tries to recover from a clobbering at the hands of the Cavs. The Celtics had won seven of 10 to put themselves in the hunt for the No. 7 and 8 spots in the Eastern Conference but have since dropped two in a row.
“It’s important for it to hurt; it better hurt,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “We’ll find a lot more about ourselves in 24 hours.”
The Celtics were outrebounded in a big way (52-42) by the Cavaliers and will be going against a Utah team that dominated the Memphis Grizzlies on the glass behind Rudy Gobert on Tuesday. Gobert has been given a bigger role on both ends of the floor following the trade of Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City at the trade deadline.
Gobert grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds to go along with 15 points in a 93-82 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday and has recorded double digit rebounds on the glass in four of the last five contests.
The Jazz have won seven of their last nine, including three of four on the road.
Boston let a 26-point lead disappear in a 106-101 heartbreaker to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday but were never even in the game against the Cavaliers, who led by 44 early in the fourth quarter.
“Everybody’s been patting (our players) on the back for the last week,” Stevens told reporters. “We have to get back to being a good team.”
The Celtics have taken seven of the last eight in the series, including a 99-90 win at Utah in January. Utah F Derrick Favors is averaging 19 points on 29-of-45 shooting in the last four games. Boston G Isaiah Thomas went 0-of-3 from 3-point range Tuesday after knocking down multiple 3-pointers in each of his first five games with the team.
PREDICTION: Celtics 104, Jazz 99
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