The Boston Celtics close out a five-game road trip on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz. It has been an up and down road trip for the Celtics, who have wins over the Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers, but losses against the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. The Celtics looked exhausted and just about ready to go back home against the Suns.
The usually scrappy Celtics looked worn down, as their offense was unable to get enough from Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. With Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown injured, it’s required that Walker steps up for the Celtics. He has to be more than a role player in the offense. While there is talent on the Celtics to go to the NBA Finals, they are going to need a healthy squad playing in top form to beat the best in the East.
If the Brooklyn Nets ever figure out their defensive situation, and with the Milwaukee Bucks heating up recently, it’s going to be tough on the rest of the conference to outpace them in the playoffs. It took a minute for the Bucks to get going, but they’re finally up to speed and playing like the team to beat right now.
Brown is currently listed as questionable to play against the Jazz tonight. He missed the Clippers game, no problem for the Celtics, as they rode a strong effort to a 119-115 win. However, the Celtics left it all out on the court to beat the Clippers and didn’t have much energy in the desert. They can’t play like that tonight or will get blown out against the most underrated team in the NBA.
The Jazz are serious and people are going to have to pay attention to them soon. The Celtics head into Tuesday night with a record of 12-10. With the Bucks getting hot, it’s unlikely going to get any easier to stay in touch at the top in the East. The Celtics trail the 76ers by four games for the lead in the conference.
Conversely, the Jazz, not the Lakers or Clippers, are ahead in the Western Conference. They enter tonight with a productive record of 19-5. The Jazz return home following a three-game road trip, which resulted in three wins against the Pistons 117-105, Hawks, 112-91, Hornets, 138-121, and Pacers, 103-95. They are winners in 15 of their last 16 games. For the hottest team in the league, they don’t get much respect. Head below for our free Celtics vs. Jazz pick on February 9, 2021.
Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz NBA Betting Odds:
Celtics vs. Jazz Prediction:
While the media continues their love fest with Lebron James and the LA Lakers, the Jazz have quietly gone about their business with a record of 19-5 to lead the NBA. If you follow the league casually, you probably wouldn’t realize the Jazz are up on fire at the moment. It kind of reminds me of the Toronto Raptors a couple of years ago when no one was giving them any respect. The Jazz don’t have a Kahwi Leonard, but they do have a Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic. Those three don’t garner enough respect in the media, but are steadily going about their business at an impressive rate.
Sorry, Darko, but Gobert’s defensive ability earns him all of the money he’s making in Utah. Gobert has helped lead the Jazz to 105.7 points conceded per game for third in the NBA. They’ve been able to perform slightly better at home in Utah, with an average of 104.2 points per game. In today’s NBA, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. While the Celtics have been solid defensively as well, with 109.2 points conceded per game, they aren’t going to be as effective without Marcus Smart on the floor.
Smart is not expected to return until a few more weeks. Against an intelligent team like the Jazz, the absence of Smart should loom large on Tuesday night. The Jazz are a well-rounded team that isn’t just all about their defense. They can score the rock as well, having notched 114.3 points per game for seventh in the league. In their last five outings, the Jazz have been hot with 117 points recorded per contest.
On the other side, the Celtics are 19th with 111 points a game, hence the need for Kemba Walker to step up and take on more of a role offensively. I suspect that the Celtics just want to go back home after a lengthy road trip and don’t bring their ‘A’ game to this party on Tuesday night. Note that the Jazz are 8-1 ATS in their last nine at home in Utah. 5.5 points might look attractive at first look on the Celtics, but I think the right side is with the underrated and red-hot Jazz.