The Utah Jazz will host the Boston Celtics in what will be an intriguing NBA matchup on Friday night. Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will make his return to Salt Lake City for the first time since leaving the Jazz. Both of these teams made the NBA Playoffs a season ago, and both are strong contenders to return this season.
This will be the fourth game on the current road trip for the Celtics, and they come into this game having won an overtime game over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. Boston trails the Toronto Raptors for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Jazz were able to beat the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week to snap a four game losing streak. Utah brings a 5-6 record into this matchup, and are four games out in the Northwest Division. The Utah Jazz are -3.0 over the Boston Celtics on Friday night. .
Mitchell Back For Utah
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell returned to the team in their win over the Mavericks, and they are much better with him on the floor. The Louisville product is averaging 22.4 points and 4.4 assists per game this season to step up his numbers from a season ago. Point guard Ricky Rubio is averaging 8.0 assists per game, and has emerged as one of the best passers in the NBA.
Despite Mitchell’s offensive prowess, the Utah Jazz will win games because of their defense this season. The home crowd will be fired up at Vivint Smart Home Arena for this game, and the Jazz defense will be ready to play. Center Rudy Gobert is averaging 2.4 blocks per game this season which is top-5 in the NBA. Donovan Mitchell is one of the best wing defenders in the league, and Utah will face a struggling offense in this game.
Boston Can’t Find Offense
Despite a monster 39 point performance from Kyrie Irving on Thursday night, the Celtics have struggled to find offense this season. They come into this contest averaging just 105 points per game which is in the bottom fourth of the NBA. Irving leads the team with 21.0 points per game this season, and has dished out 5.4 assists per game.
The strength of the Celtics is their defense and depth, but the depth has also caused some players the ability to get into a rhythm on offense. The Celtics are allowing just 102 points per game this season, and once again feature a top-5 defense. Gordon Hayward has started all ten games that he has played in, but is averaging under 10 points a game coming off of a gruesome ankle injury.
Boston Wins Two Straight
The Celtics appeared to be headed to another loss, before making a huge comeback against the Phoenix Suns. Boston has too much talent to continue to struggle, and they look to have solved some issues in that game. The Jazz are a solid team, but they have struggled at home so far this season. Utah is just 1-4 in Salt Lake City, and that record will get worse after losing to Boston on Friday night. Bet the Boston Celtics +3.0 over the Jazz in this game.