2/26 Recap: Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell Duel; Boston wins over Utah 114-103
Jayson Tatum scores 2 of his 33 points over the most recent defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert. Photo via the Boston Celtics on Twitter @celtics.
It was a night of the future in this great matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz. Two first time all-stars in Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mithcell went back and forth in an entertaining battle, but it was the Boston Celtics that came out on top for the second straight night of their back to back with a final score of 114-103. In a victory where they shot well (53.6% as a team) and protected the ball (just 8 turnovers total), the Celtics conclude their 4 game Western Conference road trip going 3-1 and now get to finally head back home to Boston.
With his recent play, it should come as no surprise who was the top player of the night once again for the C's. Jayson Tatum continues his extremely smooth, satisfying, and showstopping play with his 33 points on an unstoppable 65% shooting. He scored 25 of those points in the first half alone. The 21-year-old also contributed 11 rebounds and 3 three-pointers where he shot 50%.
Jaylen Brown kept up after a relatively slow first half by his standards. I feel like Jaylen this season has usually been the guy that starts things off right for the Celtics, and then someone like Tatum or Kemba would take over in the second half. Either way, he picked it up (especially late in the third quarter) and finished the night with 20 points and another solid outing on the boards with 6 rebounds in total.
Daniel Theis had a pretty good night as well, scoring 16 points (66.7% shooting) and snatching up 7 rebounds. He seems to be sustaining that crucial role player position down low that has been essential to our success as of late as well as all season long.
On a night where Gordon Hayward was viciously booed by his former fans every time he touched the ball in the first half, he too got off to a very rough start. You'd think after a couple years, a gruesome injury, and a new pair of all-stars wearing a Jazz uniform, these Utah fans would be over this whole thing by now. Anyways, although he had a pretty bad first half, Hayward slightly bounced back in the second finishing with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Marcus Smart continued his own streak of a high number of shot attempts, taking 17 of them in 37 minutes while knocking down 7 in the process (41.2%). Once again fulfilling the role of the injured Kemba Walker (knee), Smart did dish the ball pretty well as he led the team with 9 assists and really improved his scoring in the second half. He finished with 17 points in which he hit 3 threes and swiped 3 steals. He also seemed to be in the heads of some Jazz players using his Marcus Smart mind games, which ended up working in our favor here and there.
As I mentioned before, Donovan Mithcell fought back in reaction to Tatum's own roadshow he's been putting on lately. He had 37 points on a very solid 46.9% shooting (15 for 32) with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. It was really his play that kept this one close for as long as it was and prevented the Celtics from pulling too far ahead and closing this one out early.
The Celtics will now get a well-earned couple of days off after this road trip. Their next game will be against James Harden and the Houston Rockets this Saturday night (2/29) at 8:30 p.m. eastern standard time.