The Boston Celtics will be looking to bounce back on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz, after losing in the final seconds to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Currently, the Celtics are holding firm on the third seed in the Eastern Conference while the Jazz are in the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
Gordon Hayward will be able to go against some of his own teammates, and as we inch closer to Wednesday’s tip-off, we will see which Celtics will be available for this game to play. The Jazz are drawing the slight favorite in this one over the Celtics at -5.
Tatum finally making the leap
After his rookie season, it was clear that Jayson Tatum was something special. 2019 brought about a weird season with the story around Kyrie Irving, but now Tatum has taken over.
Just before the All-Star break, we watched Tatum go head-to-head with Kawhi Leonard in a matchup with the Clippers. On Sunday against the Lakers, Tatum had a quiet first quarter but couldn’t miss in the second or third. In the fourth quarter, LA changed their defense to send early doubles his way to make him give up the ball.
That is the hallmark of an elite player, and I think Tatum now has to be considered one of the best 15 players in the NBA.
Kemba sat out for this game, but his status is still questionable for Utah. Having him back on the floor will help their rotation and allow them to play their best.
Can the Jazz make the leap to be one of the best in the west?
Utah has been hovering near the top of the Western Conference standings in recent years but has been struggling lately. They have dropped three in a row, with their weirdest loss coming against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets adopted a new small ball style of play, and you would think that an All-NBA center like Rudy Gobert could feast against that defense.
Gobert finished that game with only 12 points and six rebounds. Granted, the small ball style is weird to match up with, but Gobert should be able to find more than six rebounds in 34 minutes of playing time.
The Jazz are still a good team, but I don’t know if they can be considered one of the best teams in the NBA.
Celtics bounce back with a road victory
Playing in Utah against the Jazz and their crazy fans make it one of the most difficult home courts to overcome. I don’t think that will be a factor for this Celtics team, and I think Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will come out strong and be hard to stop. Tatum has been on another level, and I think this point of the season is where he will make his leap to move towards and All-NBA team push. I’m going with the Boston Celtics to win on the road in the final minutes of a close game. Take the Celtics +5 on the road.