Celtics win tug of war in Utah: BOS 107 UTA 102

The Celtics had a lead as high as 13 in the first quarter, however, a win in Salt Lake City proved to be anything but easy. Even without Deron Williams. By the time the Green were heading to the locker rooms at half time, their lead had been cut to only three.

It was a theme that remained prevalent the whole game, no lead was safe as the Jazz continually battled back. The game was a tug of war, featuring eleven ties overall and eight lead changes in the fourth quarter.

It wasn't easy, but eventually the C's pulled out the five-point victory in Salt Lake City, 107-102. The win wrapped up a successful road trip to the west coast, in which they went 3-1.

There were many heroes for the Celtics, whose starters all reached double figures. They were led by Ray Allen's 25 points. The three-point king made 5-of-8 three pointers in the game, including two over the final five minutes. Paul Pierce added 21 points, 16 of which were instrumental in holding off a Utah rally in the second quarter. Pierce was also 11-of-11 at the free-throw line, knocking down two clutch shots at the charity stripe in the final seconds to seal the game for Boston.

Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each had double doubles in the game, Garnett had 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting while adding 14 rebounds. Rondo dished out 11 dimes and scored 16 points. New addition, Nenad Krstic, had 11 points in the game -- 10 of which came in the first quarter.

Boston was able to overcome an amazing performance from former Celtic, Al Jefferson, who ended the night with 28 points and 19 rebounds. Big Al joined three other Jazz players in double figures. Andrei Kirilenko added 18 points and Paul Millsap scored 17. Devin Harris -- whom the Jazz acquired before the trade deadline for Deron Williams -- had 19 points for Utah.

Both teams shot above 40-percent in a game that was evenly matched and close nearly the entire time.

The Jazz started hot out of the gate, going on a 10-2 run to begin the game and take an eight point lead over the visiting Celtics. However, their lead never climbed any higher. Highlighted by 10 first quarter points from new-comer Nenad Krstic, Boston responded with a 22-4 run to build a lead as high as 13 and lead 30-21 after the first.

Yet, fueled by Al Jefferson, the Jazz came right back. Big Al was averaging 17.8 points and 9.10 rebounds on the season and he already had a double double heading into halftime, 18 points and 10 rebounds. A 12-2 Utah run in the second frame tied the game with a little over three minutes remaining and if it weren't for 16 second quarter points from Paul Pierce, the Celtics could have been trailing.

After the Jazz had tied the game, Pierce traded baskets with Al Jefferson to keep the game knotted up before Boston broke the standstill building their lead back up to as high as six and headed into the half up only three, 56-53.

The Jazz tied the game up early in the third and it again turned into a game of tug of war, as Utah would tie it up each time the Celtics retook the lead. However, Boston never trailed and headed into the fourth holding onto a four point lead.

The Jazz took their first lead since the first quarter with 9:21 left in the game following a bizarre series of events. After Jeff Green blocked a Gordon Hayward fast-break dunk, Glen Davis couldn't handle the rebound and gave the ball right back to Hayward, who gave it to Millsap, who missed a jumper. Yet, rookie and new Utah acquisition Derrick Favors grabbed the offensive board and dunked it for the go-ahead score. After Rondo responded with a running jumper, Favors again gave the Jazz the lead with another dunk a minute and a half later.

The two teams battled back and forth, the Jazz taking one point leads and the Celtics mounting an advantage as high as five. Due largely to Ray Allen's 10 points in the final five minutes, including two three-pointers, the Celtics were able to hang on against the Jazz, winning 107-102.

The Celtics improve to 43-15 and the season and next they return home for a rematch with the Phoenix Suns, whom they lost to on their last road trip. The game will take place on Wednesday March 2nd at 7:30pm.