A strong balanced attack powered the Boston Celtics over the Utah Jazz at TD Garden Tuesday night, 115-104. Isaiah Thomas followed up his career-high 52-point night on Friday with a career-high 15 assists the very next game. Jae Crowder had a career-high five makes from behind the arc to help him tie his season-high point total of 21. The C's combined to hit 17 threes, tying the franchise record.
The Celtics opened up the game with smooth passing and exceptional team play to lead the Jazz through most of the opening quarter. Isaiah, Crowder, and Al Horford ran a very effective offense, making smart plays and hitting shots. Crowder hit two early threes, and followed them up with this beautiful zip pass to a cutting Horford:
Crowder finds Al Horford with the perfect pass for a transition dunk! #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/JEhinJKUao— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 4, 2017
After his ridiculous performance on Friday, Isaiah picked up right where he left off. He went for nine points on 4/5 shooting, including this moon shot that may or may not have gone through one of the rafters:
Camera literally loses sight of the ball on Isaiah Thomas' ridiculously high-arcing swish. #NBAVote #HowDidITDoThat?! pic.twitter.com/QJcvBikXfS— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) January 4, 2017
The end of the quarter was extremely sloppy with five consecutive combined turnovers, and a Raul Neto banked three gave the Jazz a one-point edge:
Cs down 29-28 after 1Q. @celtics: Thomas 9 pts. Horford, Crowder 6 pts each. @utahjazz:Hayward 10 pts. Mack, Favors 4 pts each. #CelticsTalk— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) January 4, 2017
Rookie Jaylen Brown had a strong six minutes to start the second quarter. He quickly made some nice plays, adding 8 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, and a block, albeit he also had a few rookie mistakes when he turned the ball over two times:
Jaylen Brown gets it done on both ends! 💪 pic.twitter.com/ipTWncfgj5— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 4, 2017
Just like the start of the game, Thomas and Crowder caught fire towards the end of the half. They combined for back-to-back threes to push the Celtics lead to seven. After recording no assists against the Heat, Isaiah had seven in the first half, mostly to Horford and Crowder, to go along with his 14 points.
As a unit, Boston was doing all of the right things. They took care of the ball and got defensive boards, preventing Utah from getting any offensive rebounds or fast-break points. They shot the three-ball effectively while still getting buckets in the paint against Rudy Gobert and a very stringent Utah interior defense. Brad Stevens' greatest prodigy from his time in Butler, Gordon Hayward, put up 12 first-half points for the Jazz. The Celts brought a nine-point lead into the half:
Nice half for the Celtics. Utah has no offensive rebounds and no fast-break points.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) January 4, 2017
Isaiah, Crowder, and Horford stayed hot in the third quarter. Isaiah picked up four assists in four minutes and Crowder converted on his two shots for a fast five points. There was a whole lot of this:
Coach Stevens' minute-staggering allowed continual offense through the 3Q, resulting in the Celtics scoring the most points against the Jazz through three quarters all season (85). In the process, Crowder marked his career-high for made threes made in a game (5), and Isaiah reached his career-high in assists (13) with still 12 minutes left in the contest:
Two big offensive performances : IT with 19 points, 13 assists with 2:20 left in third; Crowder now 5-5 from three, 21 points.— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) January 4, 2017
The final frame was more of the same for Boston -- impressive ball movement, a whole lot of Isaiah Thomas, and strong overall offense. Mr. Fourth Quarter continued shooting out of his mind and also racked up dimes like this one to Kelly Olynyk:
Joe Johnson turned back the clock to his clutch days with 14 fourth quarter points to keep Utah within striking distance, but the C's shooting was ultimately too much to handle. With 2:45 remaining, Avery Bradley hit a franchise-tying 17th three-pointer, capping off a crazy good shooting night:
Celtics have six games in their history where they shot >=55% on 25+ 3PT attempts. Currently 55.2% on 29 attempts.https://t.co/sP0K32o1TI— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) January 4, 2017
This team really seems to be gaining momentum after this performance. Isaiah finished with 29 and 15, Crowder and Horford added 21 a piece, and Bradley chipped in with 14 points.
Boston will stay home for the week, as the Philadelphia 76ers will be coming into town on Friday.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32
Photo by @celtics Erik Johnson 1/03/2017 10:04:00 PM Tweet Edit