The Celtics had the opportunity to go back to Boston for two weeks with a 3-0 road trip against Western Conference teams. Boston led 54-42 with 2:02 left in the half and the Jazz appeared listless. Utah responded with a 7-0 run to end the half as the Celtics committed two turnovers and missed two layups in that stretch and never were the same.
Utah punished the Celtics in the second half, outscoring the Celtics 61-43, shooting 51 percent and getting 14 points and 12 rebounds from Mehmet Okur, who was a non factor in the first half. The Celtics were frustrated because they missed a bunch of layups, the starters didn’t produce as they did in the first half — Paul Pierce was 0-for-6 and Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen were a combined 3-for-11.
Still, it was a positive trip against three quality teams but Kevin Garnett said the previous two games didn’t matter, he was upset about this one. As he should be. He had just three rebounds and none in the second half. Okur and Carlos Boozer outrebounded the Celtics team 20-14 in the second half, and that is a sign of fatigue and lack of desire.
Paul Pierce — The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week thought he was fouled on a few occasions and that seemed to take him out of his game. He was 3-for-13 from the field and missed a few defensive assignments on C.J. Miles. who finished with 23 points.
Kevin Garnett — Three rebounds in 26 minutes is not nearly enough for KG. He got too much rest in the second half and wasn’t as aggressive against a fired-up Boozer down the stretch.
Kendrick Perkins — As the pace picked up, Perkins sat but he did grab eight rebounds in 23 minutes. Still, he nor anyone else on the roster had an answer for Boozer.
Ray Allen — The 3-pointers weren’t going down and as with the rest of the starters, he wasn’t the same in the second half. And he also missed a couple if layups that could have made a difference.
Rajon Rondo — Obviously a matchup with the burly and tough Williams is going to be a challenge for Rondo, but he seemed to weaken as the game went on and picked up a couple of cheap fouls. When he only nets four assists in 28 minutes, you know he isn’t himself.
Rasheed Wallace — Got into it with a couple of fans sitting above the bench and lost his edge in the second half. A pretty typical Rasheed game, did some good things but also some bad things.
Glen Davis — Was playing well until he got popped in the nose by a Paul Millsap elbow following a rebound and wasn’t the same after. Still, he scored 13 points with five rebounds and hit all seven free throws. A solid performance.
Marquis Daniels — Daniels, as always, does some very nice things and then also makes some boneheaded plays. He missed three free throws and just fumbled a ball as he was ready to make an offensive move. Daniels needs to be more consistent.
Michael Finley — Scored eight points in 14 minutes and canned two 3-pointers. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, score in bunches and hit perimeter shots.
Nate Robinson — As with everybody else, was a different player in the first half than second half and didn’t really make any impact after halftime.
Tony Allen — Five points in two garbage time minutes.
Shelden Williams — Two points in six minutes.