Tyler Zeller hits game-winner to down Jazz in Boston, 85-84

Gordon Hayward nearly won it for the Jazz, but Tyler Zeller had other plans.
The Celtics outlasted the Jazz in a thriller tonight, 85-84. Utah closed in on Boston's lead down the stretch, but Tyler Zeller sealed the deal on a buzzer-beating game-winner.

The Jazz led Boston by one after the first quarter of play. Not unlike the first, the second quarter was plagued by poor shooting from both sides. Marcus Smart capped off the forgettable first half with a nice and-1 that provided Boston the lead, 34-33.

Jae Crowder remained the Celtics' bright spot with halftime tallies of 13 points (6-8 shooting), one rebound and one assist. For the Jazz, young center Rudy Gobert chipped in seven points (2-5 shooting) and eight boards.

The Celtics went into the locker room shooting a measly 32.6% (15-46) from the field, 16.7% (2-12) from distance, and 33.3% (2-6) from the line. Utah was comparably cold, firing just 37.1% (13-35), 16.7% (2-12), and 50.0% (5-10) respectively.

Avery Bradley came out hot to start the latter half, accumulating eight points in less than two minutes. Gobert and Trey Burke did most of the damage for Utah in the third, but the Celtics distanced themselves. After three, the Celtics still led 61-55.

The Jazz fought back to a single point deficit with just under a minute to go. After excellent team defense by Utah down the stretch, Burke had a chance give his team the lead with about ten seconds to go, but missed the shot. Bradley deflected the ball out of bounds, giving Utah the final possession.

Butler alum Gordon Hayward hit a fading midrange jumper with 1.7 seconds to go. With time expiring, Tyler Zeller played hero for the Celtics with a game-winning lay-in. The great feed came from an inbounds pass courtesy of Marcus Smart.

For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert was dominant with 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks, and Trey Burke chipped in with 16 points (7-17), eight assists and six rebounds.

The rookie matchup was rather underwhelming. Marcus Smart (No. 6 overall pick) put up better totals than Dante Exum (No. 5 overall pick), but with terrible efficiency.

Marcus Smart: 7 PTS (3-14), 4 AST, 4 REB, 2 STL, in 38 MIN
Dante Exum: 3 PTS (1-4), 1 AST, 2 REB, 0 STL in 19 MIN.

A look at the final box score:

The Celtics (24-35) take on the Pelicans (32-28) at 8:00 PM ET on Friday in New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Elise Amendola