The Celtics will be in Utah, an arena currently hosting some fans, to play the best team in the NBA. No team has a better record than the Utah Jazz to this point in the year, which comes as a surprise to many folks. They blew a 3-1 first-round lead a season ago, and now they have bounced back with a serious vengeance.
Utah is looking great this year, and there isn’t a major flaw. Derrick Favors returned to be the backup center. Jordan Clarkson looks like the best reserve in the league. And Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert still seem to have chemistry. The team is a lot better than the fans could have hoped, and it’s great to see. 19-5 to this point in the year is not too shabby at all.
Boston, meanwhile, has been dealing with a lot of injuries. They remain without their defensive MVP Marcus Smart and have been without Jaylen Brown for the last several games. He’s questionable to play, with an announcement likely coming closer to tip-off. We saw Carsen Edwards play 30 minutes as a starter last game, which is very telling of the team’s situation.
Utah enters this game as a -4 favorite over Boston.
Boston Seeks Lucky 13
Entering at 12-10, the Celtics are not where anybody expected them to be. They have dealt with injuries and health issues throughout the year, Jayson Tatum missing a long stretch earlier in the season. They are doing better than Miami, but a rematch in the ECF is highly unlikely this upcoming campaign. Neither of those teams is trending in the right direction.
It is hard to say what Boston’s lineup will look like, but it is safe to assume Edwards will not be a part of it. Jaylen will likely push hard to return, given that they are playing the best team in the NBA thus far. And if not, perhaps Javonte Green will get a lot of burn, also opening the game on Donovan Mitchell.
There is a good chance that Daniel Theis rejoins the starting lineup, but if he does not, Tristan Thompson will have his hands full with Rudy Gobert.
Jazz Look to Become First Team to 20 Wins
At 19-5, no team has been better than the Jazz this year. Oddly, the only outlet in the league that does not have them as a top-two team in the power rankings is The Ringer. The Jazz is the #6 team there, and it is hard to know exactly why. This is a dangerous bunch.
Bojan is back to his old self. Mike Conley has been very good this season, a great sign after he struggled for much of his first year with the organization. Mitchell and Gobert look very good as well, a bright sign that the tandem can work together healthily once again.
Joe Ingles is providing stability, while Quin Snyder looks like a Coach of the Year frontrunner.
Jazz Keep It Rolling
20-5! How does that sound? Utah is no joke this season.