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Game thread: Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz

After a crazy overtime win against the Phoneix Suns, the Celtics are quickly back in action tonight against the Utah Jazz. It will be Gordon Hayward’s anticipated return to Salt Lake City. The crowd will be raucous and ready to pounce as soon as Hayward touches the ball.

Last night was a bumpy ride against the Suns, but the dominance of Kyrie Irving shined through. Even against a lesser team, this could be a comeback victory which vaults Boston to the level of consistency they are looking for with this much talent. This will be a tall task without Kyrie, who will be out for this one to attend a memorial for his grandfather.

The Jazz have had a slow start to their season starting out 5-6. This may have some to do with Donovan Mitchell missing a couple of games, but all in all, this is not how the team wanted to start out. Utah is a team who plays great defense and tries to slow the pace down to their level, so look for this game to be a defensive battle by both sides.

Offensively for the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell runs the show. In nine games, he is averaging 22.4 points per game shooting 43.8% from the field. Mitchell fits this team well even as their mission is to slow the game down and play defense first. The back court will have a challenge with Mitchell all night long.

After a stagnant start to the game last night, the Celtics found a way to win. This came after questionable decisions and missed shots by the Suns. Boston is going to have to get things going early on if they stand a chance. In addition, the Friday crowd with the Celtics and Hayward in town will be daunting.

It will be interesting how Boston and/or Utah will adjust to the lineups from each team. Utah’s starting five will have Favors and Gobert leading the team in size against a smaller lineup, but if Boston can exploit Utah with a quicker pace, then the Jazz will have to counter. Brad Stevens vs. Quin Snyder will be a fun battle to watch.

We will see if Terry Rozier can get back to his form last year starting in at point guard. The injuries for the Celtics will be Daniel Theis who will still be out with a foot injury. For the Jazz, it will only be Raul Neto who is out with a hamstring injury.

The starters will only be tweaked a little with the addition of Terry Rozier as mentioned. The Celtics need to continue their success from last night’s overtime period to take this one on a back to back. It’ll be another late one in the eastern time zone.

Projected Starters

PG – Terry Rozier – Ricky Rubio

SG – Jaylen Brown – Donovan Mitchell

SF – Gordon HaywardJoe Ingles

PF – Jayson TatumDerrick Favors

C – Al HorfordRudy Gobert

Injuries

Boston – Kyrie Irving (Personal) Daniel Theis (Foot); Jabari Bird (Personal)

Utah- Raul Neto (Hamstring)

How to Watch

Time – 9:30 PM EST

TV – ESPN; NBC Sports Boston

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