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Game 8 preview: Jazz at Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  November 14, 2012 04:33 PM

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Old friend Al Jefferson returns to TD Garden Wednesday night as the Utah Jazz (4-4) take on the Celtics (4-3). Jefferson was a fan favorite in Boston, and there's no question Celtics fans would have loved to have him stay. But considering how well Kevin Garnett has played well into his mid-30s, there's not likely to be anyone who wishes for revisionist history on the blockbuster deal that sent Garnett to Boston for Jefferson and a package of players.

The Jazz are an interesting bunch. Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors make for an exciting, dynamic frontcourt. Mo Williams seems rejuvenated (19.6 points, 7.4 assists per game), and Gordon Hayward is a big guard who can score. The Celtics don't have a great matchup for Hayward, but Utah also lacks a true superstar. Should be fun.

As always, though, early-season games are more about your team than the other team. The Celtics have won four of five games after starting the season 0-2. The four-man "rotation" of Brandon Bass, Jared Sullnger, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry has gotten a lot of attention, but I'm also curious to see how Paul Pierce plays Wednesday night and in the coming weeks. After limping through the stretch run last season, Pierce can prove that injury, not age, was the cause by playing well this season. Balancing the want to prove himself and the need to pace himself will be key.

Rajon Rondo leads the league with 12.9 assists per game. He led the NBA last season with 11.7 assists per game. He just keeps getting better.

Gary Washburn has you covered Wednresday night at the Garden. Enjoy the game.

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