Utah has to be near the top of the list of places in the US that I have absolutely no interest in visiting. The squeaky clean Mormons frankly scare me and the fact that they're not big on the nightlife is similarly frightening.
The Celtics went to Salt Lake City last night riding a four-game win streak and the overriding sense that they've gotten their proverbial shit together. Impressive wins in Houston on Friday night and in Dallas on Saturday night was giving C's fans optimism that maybe the Big Three and Co. has one last title run in them.
Or maybe not. Boston (45-25) was in complete control in the first half, up by double digits before the Jazz (46-25) scored the last seven points of the second quarter to slide into the break only down 54-49.
Utah scored the first nine points of the second half and by then, dreams of a win at EnergySolutions Arena (one of the toughest home courts in the NBA, where the Jazz are 29-8) disappeared faster than a Mormon at a strip club. Utah won 110-97 as Boston completely crumbled in the second half, with a rare Doc Rivers ejection serving as the cherry on top for all the pasty-faced Jazz fans.
C.J. Miles scored a game-high 23 points for Utah while the incomparable Deron Williams added 22 points and 11 assists, using his big frame to push around the much smaller Rajon Rondo (6 points, 6 assists).
Nobody ever talks about them but the Jazz are very solid. Carlos Boozer had 19 points and nine rebounds and Mehmet Okur notched 14 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Wesley Matthews and Paul Millsap both scored 10.
Boston looked the part of an old team playing the last game of a road trip. Their legs were tired and nobody except for Glen Davis (13 points, 5 rebounds) had a good game. Davis was also hit in the face by Millsap's forearm, causing him to have one of those cotton swabs stuffed in his nose.
Ray Allen led the Celts with 15 points, Paul Pierce had 11 and Kevin Garnett scored 10. The Boston bench was one point away (49-48) from tying the output of the starters which is never good. If only Rasheed Wallace wasn't completely done, the second unit would be pretty formidable. Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels and Michael Finley all had eight points.
Things don't get any easier tomorrow night as Boston opens up a six-game home stretch (its longest of the season) with a visit from the Denver Nuggets, the number two team in the Western Conference.