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Winners of five of their last six games entering Monday night and fresh off a sweep in Texas, the Celtics seemed ready to win yet another road game, as they looked to build on a 12-point lead near the end of the first half. Instead, the Jazz went on a 7-0 run to close the first half deficit to five points, and then it was off to the races.
“I think as a team we were disappointed because we wanted to close the quarter out a little better,” said Ray Allen. “They attacked us and we never took the attack away from them. We were kind of reacting to everything they were doing and then before you know it we were down.” (AP Quote)
The Jazz scored 16 straight points in all from the end of the first half into the third quarter to take the lead. Led by point guard Deron Williams (22 points, 11 assists), the Jazz used a balanced attack to surge past the Celtics on their way to a 110-97 win.
It really was a tale of two halves on Monday night, as the Jazz appeared to be outclassed by a hot Celtics team in the first half. The reality in the second half, however, was that the Celtics starters had no business on the court. Mehmet Okur scored all 14 points in the second half and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds with three steals and three blocked shots.
Carlos Boozer also helped pound the Celtics inside, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots. Meanwhile, forward C.J. Miles had one of his best games of the year with 23 points and three rebounds.
Blame it on the starters. It’s simple. Ray Allen finished 4-12 from the field (15 points), while Paul Pierce finished just 3-13 (11 points). Kevin Garnett scored 10 points and hauled in just three rebounds. Rajon Rondo put up the Devil Line with six points, six assists, and four rebounds (four turnovers as well). Kendrick Perkins rounded out the group with seven points and eight boards. Looking at the +/- statistic, the Celtics were outscored by at least 10 points while each starter was on the court.
The bench, meanwhile, is beginning to take shape. Glen Davis scored 13 points on 3-4 shooting (7-7 from the FT line), while Michael Finley, Nate Robinson, and Marquis Daniels each had eight points in a balanced effort.
Two things to notice: Shelden Williams played as he has been lately (though he and Tony Allen are at the bottom of the rotation), while Brian Scalabrine didn’t see a second of game action. Could Doc Rivers finally be seeing the light?
The Road Warriors will finally be heading home, on Wednesday night to square off with the Nuggets.