Our Celtics just went 0-west coast. That’s 0-5. The last three? Against the Lakers, Kings, and tonight against the Jazz. Three straight losses against three straight cellar dwellers. Oh how lovely this ride to Tank City has been.
Tonight’s game? U-G-L-Y. Utah’s leading scorer, Gordon Hayward, was held to just 8 points on a poor shooting night, so naturally the Celtics should have been able to hold the league’s third worst offense to less than 110 points, right?! Wrong. In what’s becoming typical Celtics fashion of late, average/above-average scorers like Alec Burks or Marvin Williams looked like stars. Burks’ 21 points off the bench were the focal point of Utah’s offense as he routinely beat Boston’s perimeter defense attempts. Williams had the highest +/- in the game as he contributed 19 points to go along with big man Derrick Favors’ 20 points on just 9 FGA in his return from injury. Utah simply dominated in every statistical facet of tonight’s game, certainly a fitting end to the road trip Brad Stevens and the Celtics would like to forget.
Bright spots for the Celtics? Kelly Olynyk. It seems that Stevens’ patience with the Canadian big man is starting to pay off. Olynyk continued his impressive February with a 21 point game off the bench. He was the only Celtic to post a positive +/- rating. With Jared Sullinger sidelined with concussion issues, the Celtics really needed continued contributions from Kris Humphries. Tonight’s contributions? Quite negative. His terrible shooting night aside, Humphries was routinely outworked in the paint. Jazz big man Enes Kanter out-hustled Humphries early on, a key contribution to the Jazz’s early 15 point lead. The Celtics did show resilience down the stretch as they somehow found themselves down just 10, thanks to an 8-0 run behind Olynyk and Jarryd Bayless’ hustle. That fourth quarter run looked nice, but it was more of the Jazz losing focus then the Celtics putting it together.
The C’s limp back to Boston, very grateful to see this trip come to an end. Their record of 4-22 against the West points to their lack of experience and lack of size, something West teams routinely dominate the East with. In most of their losses this season, we can at least say we saw a well played contest with effort. But tonight’s Celtics just looked bored and tired. Hopefully this was nothing more than homesickness, but it certainly wasn’t reassuring.