Five things to know after Utah’s win over Boston

It might have been the 22nd game of the season, but the environment at Vivint Arena on Friday night told a different story.

As Boston fans occupied a solid continent of the 18,300 available seats, the noise was deafening as the Jazz and Celtics traded heavy blows as if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Both teams scored 41 points in the third in one of the most entertaining quarterbacks of all games this season. There were 10 ties and 14 lead changes in just 12 minutes.

Thankfully, the Utah All-Star backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley landed the final blows of the bout.

Mitchell and Conley’s 63 points – including 24 in the deciding fourth quarter – Utah extended their winning streak to three games after their 137-130 win over Boston.

“There are nights you don’t (shoot), and you get a night like tonight where the ball comes in, and we took advantage of that,” head coach Quin Snyder said after the game.

Here are five things you need to know after winning:

1.) All-Star Backcourt is potentially the best in the NBA
It is always difficult to decide who is the best player in the league. Is this Giannis Antetokounmpo? Kevin Durant? Steph Curry? Nikola Jokic? This debate can rage through the night.

This same difficulty arises when it comes to deciding who is the best backcourt in the league. While it’s hard to know who’s the best, there is one duo that makes a strong case for this title – Mitchell and Conley.

After both being selected for the All-Star Game last year, Mitchell and Conley put in their best performances of the season on Friday night in a massive victory over Boston.

Mitchell finished with 34 points, a team-high, on 12 of 22 shots from the ground and 6 of 14 from beyond the arc. He added six assists and finished with a score of +12.

Conley was equally impressive, finishing with 29 points. He shot 9-on-13 from the field and a perfect 7-on-7 from three-point territory, adding seven assists and four rebounds in a team-best +21 score.

“Both of our guards were great,” Snyder said after Mitchell and Conley’s game.

Most impressive, Mitchell and Conley were at their best when the Jazz needed them most.

In the final 4.58 hours of the game, the duo combined to score 24 of Utah’s 28 points. They shot 7 for 7 from the floor, including five from beyond the arc – and Conley added four free throws at the end for good measure. The only points they didn’t score were back-to-back Rudy Gobert dunks, both from Conley’s assists.

It’s hard to describe the best starting backcourt in the league – especially with the Phoenix duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker and Curry set to bring back running mate Klay Thompson soon. But one thing is certain, Mitchell and Conley will have their say in the discussion before the end of the season.

2.) The team’s “heartbeat” is huge
After missing the last two games with a sprained right foot and ankle, Royce O’Neale made his comeback on Friday night.

While Joe Ingles played very well when he was in the starting lineup in place of O’Neale, there are some aspects of O’Neale’s game that no one can replace. Some of his most valuable traits are his defensive versatility and his willingness to do the dirty work whenever necessary.

That’s why O’Neale was called the “heartbeat of the team” during the pre-match media session.

He lived up to that name against the Celtics.

O’Neale finished with his first double-double of the season when he lost 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in his most complete performance of the year.

“That bell keeps ringing and he keeps ringing,” Snyder said of O’Neale. “What he gave us in terms of defensive tenacity, then he’s been really consistent and really opportunistic in making his shot. He knows when his shot is going to come and he’s confident in shooting it. Often the baskets he gets. gets are big buckets. ”

As long as O’Neale continues to answer that bell, the Jazz will continue to be one of the best offensive and defensive teams in the league.

3.) Snow could arrive next week, but it was raining in Vivint Arena
Long awaited for a blizzard in Utah, the weather inside Vivint Arena had some precipitation.

It was raining three on Friday night as Utah knocked down 27 three-pointers, a season-high, shooting 52.9% (27-for-51) from beyond the arc. Those were most of the three runs scored in a game this season and tied for fourth in league history – second in jazz history.

Conley led the charge with a perfect 7 for 7 performance, while Mitchell knocked down six from beyond the arc. Bojan Bogdanovic scored four, Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles each added three, while Rudy Gay and O’Neale finished with two.

It was a special moment in the league’s top-rated offense, proving how versatile and dangerous they are when they’re on fire. And what’s even scarier is that flipping all those three points further opens the way for Mitchell to slash, Conley to dominate in the pick-and-roll, and Gobert to own the paint.

Utah is at its best when it comes to good shots for good shots, and it was obvious Friday night. The Jazz distributed 26 assists as Conley and Mitchell combined for half of them.

It should be noted that the Jazz lost 137 points against a team which entered the evening with the fifth best defense in the league. Boston didn’t have an answer for Utah’s effectiveness, and if the Jazz can do that to Marcus Smart and co., The rest of the league had better take note.

4.) Turnover remains a problem when Utah loses focus
Early in the game, the Jazz were sensational, taking a 14-2 lead as Conley knocked down three first three-pointers. They extended their lead to 38-25 after the first quarter and appeared to be cruising.

But problems arose in the second quarter as Utah nearly saw their entire lead disappear and entered the halftime with a 59-56 advantage.

What didn’t work was simple though, unforced turnovers leading to easy points for Boston who took possession of the Jazz. The Celtics dominated Utah 31-21 during the quarter, making seven more shots from the field.

“In the first half there was a stretch where we reversed it,” Snyder said. “A lot of them weren’t forced, just careless or careless. We had to attack early in possession, and the ball movement comes after.”

While the Jazz continue to be the best offense in the league – by far – they also continue to be their worst enemies with turnovers. When Utah finds out how to reduce them, it’s going to be a scary thought in the future.

“Really the only thing that got them back into the game was the turnovers,” said Mitchell. “The thing is, our turnovers weren’t like aggressive turnovers. You’ll take the ones where you drive and try to pass and try to shake things up, but these are the ones where you’re just like lob passes. and stuff like that. “

5.) Utah closes strong in decisive fourth quarter
In the Jazz’s last two losses, they blew up the leads in the fourth quarter and lost on shots in the closing seconds.

After a 13-2 streak punctuated by a three-point shot from Conley with just under two minutes to go, giving the Jazz a seven-point lead, Utah looked to be on the way to victory. But the Celtics responded that five quick points made it a one-scoring game with less than a minute to go.

That kind of story had been played out in the last two losses, and it looked like Jazz was about to meet the same fate again.

But Conley and Mitchell made sure that didn’t happen.

Conley responded to the Boston mini-run with a three-point shot for some breathing space. After two free throws from Jayson Tatum that again scored, Mitchell hit the dagger with a deep three-point shot with 28.2 seconds left. Conley then froze the game with four free throws for the win.

“It was just fluid.… We knew exactly where we needed to be,” Mitchell said of the closing minutes of the game. “It was boom-boom-boom. I have to give the coach credit.… We’ve been through every situation, we’ve seen it all eight times in practice.”

While it was great to see the offense flourish in the dying moments, the defense deserves a lot of credit. The Jazz locked themselves in and forced the Celtics to take contested shots when it mattered most.

If Utah can continue to find ways to get in the clutch, they quickly turn into a team no one wants to see in the playoffs.

About John Crowder

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