Watch the Utah Jazz take on the Boston Celtics, live on Sky Sports Arena on Sunday at 12:30am
Last Updated: 17/11/18 6:34pm
The Utah Jazz will be looking to put the embarrassment of a 50-point defeat in Dallas behind them when they face the Boston Celtics, live on Sky Sports Arena late on Saturday night.
The Jazz (7-8) were humiliated on Wednesday night losing 118-68 to the Dallas Mavericks, posting the season’s lowest single-game points total in the process. They fell to another defeat on Friday, a 113-107 reverse against the Sixers in Philadelphia to slip to 12th place in the Western Conference standings.
Live NBA: Utah @ Boston
November 18, 2018, 12:30am
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Relive all the action, including Kyrie’s magical 43 points, on Sky Sports Action, Saturday 10pm
After struggling offensively early in the season, the Celtics (9-6) – thanks to their No 1-ranked defense and some game-winning individual offensive displays from Kyrie Irving – sit fourth in the East and come into this game on the back of their best win of the season, a 123-116 overtime victory over Eastern Conference leaders the Toronto Raptors.
Boston boast a 5-1 record at home, their only blemish coming in a shock defeat against the Orlando Magic on October 23. The Jazz have won five of their nine away games to date.
Key Battle: Donovan Mitchell vs Celtics defense
The Jazz have limited offensive options and rely heavily on the scoring of Donovan Mitchell The second-year guard contributed just 10 points in the humbling loss to the Mavericks but is averaging 20.4 points per game this season.
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The bad news for the Jazz is that the Celtics boast the league’s best defensive rating, conceding 101.2 points per 100 possessions to their opponents. If Boston lock down Mitchell, the Jazz will struggle to keep pace on the scoreboard.
Last time out
17 – Last season, the Jazz boasted the league’s second-best defensive rating. This term, they rank 19th, a fall of 17 places. Utah’s brand of physical defense has been somewhat neutered by the NBA’s introduction of ‘freedom of movement’ rules.
Rudy Gobert, 2017/18’s NBA defensive player of the year, has admitted his team must do better at adapting their play to the new guidelines, telling the Deseret News: “It impacts everyone. We want to be a physical team and we want to impact the other team’s movement. It’s hard with all those screens and guards that are using that as an advantage to get fouled. But it’s the same for everyone so we have to adapt.”
One to watch (Jazz): Joe Ingles
‘Jingling Joe’ was one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters last season, making 2.5 per game at a superb 44.0 per cent success rate. Ingles’ three-point percentage has dropped to below 40 per cent this term. This, along with the woeful shooting of point guard Ricky Rubio, has heaped more pressure on Mitchell to carry the scoring load. Will Ingles rediscover his touch from downtown against the Celtics?
One to watch (Celtics): Gordon Hayward
Having missed all-but five opening-night minutes of last season thanks to a horrific ankle injury on his Boston debut, it’s fair to say all eyes are on Hayward every time he takes the floor now he has returned to the Boston line-up.
Thus far, Hayward has looked a shadow of his former All-Star self, but that’s understandable as he looks to rediscover his game and trust his body again.
The seven years Hayward spent with the Jazz before signing with the Celtics as free agent adds extra spice to how he performs in this game.
- Los Angeles Clippers @ Brooklyn Nets, 11pm
- Philadelphia 76ers @ Charlotte Hornets, 12am
- Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers, 12am
- Los Angeles Lakers @ Orlando Magic, 12am
- Denver Nuggets @ New Orleans Pelicans, 12am
- Utah Jazz @ Boston Celtics, 12:30am, live on Sky Sports Arena
- Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls, 1am
- Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets, 1am
- Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks, 1:30am
- Oklahoma City Thunder @ Phoenix Suns, 2am
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