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Favors, Jazz cruise past Celtics

5 min read
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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz center Derrick Favors was supposed to play restricted minutes Monday night when he returned from a hip injury.

The Boston Celtics, no doubt, wish the Jazz would have stuck with the plan.

Backup guard Alec Burks scored 21 points, Favors came back and added 20 points, and the Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Boston 110-98 at EnergySolutions Arena.

Favors hit eight of nine shots and blocked three shots while helping the Jazz hold Boston to 44 percent shooting. The Jazz center, playing his first game since before the All-Star break, missed three contests with a right hip sprain.

“(The training staff) gave me the OK to keep him in there, play him a little bit longer than we thought,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He felt fine, so it was good to get him back on the floor. He does so many good things for us on the defensive end, it really makes it easy for the other guys.”

Forward Marvin Williams added 19 points as Utah improved to 20-36 with its first win over Boston in eight tries. No current Jazz player was on the roster the last time the team beat the Celtics, on March 22, 2010.

“I’m happy to be out there and help the team win,” Favors said. “I’ve been out for about two weeks. It felt good to be back out there. We’ve got to improve it and make it two in a row.”

Forward Jeff Green and center Kelly Olynyk each scored 21 points to top Boston, and point guard Rajon Rondo, who didn’t play Saturday in Sacramento, finished with 18 points and 10 assists.

However, the Celtics ended their four-game road trip without a win, falling for the fifth consecutive time. Boston, which beat Utah 97-87 at home on Nov. 6, dropped to 19-39.

“The bottom line is they got rolling,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “And when they get rolling, they make tougher (shots).”

The tipoff was delayed by about 10 minutes as a camera atop one of the shot clocks was repaired, and both teams started slowly once the game began.

Boston held a 5-4 lead almost three minutes into the game before Utah seized the lead for good with a 6-0 run.

Utah went ahead 27-18 after the first quarter, playing with much more energy than it did a 121-104 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

The Jazz increased their advantage to 59-46 at halftime and eventually led by 18 points. Utah was ahead by double figures for most of the second half.

“Yeah, I think it was rusty,” Williams said of the Jazz’s recent play. “Coach gave us (Sunday) off. … Guys got rest that needed rest. Other guys that needed work got their work. And it really helped us out today.”

Boston looked as if it were ready to return from a long trip, which included stops (and losses) in San Antonio, Phoenix, Sacramento and Salt Lake City. The Celtics return home Wednesday to play Atlanta after not having a game at the TD Garden since Feb. 12.

“We were a step slow tonight. We couldn’t break their rhythm,” Green said. “When you do that in this league, it is tough to get stops. They kept going to the same thing, making us work.”

Boston played without center Jared Sullinger (concussion), guard Avery Bradley (ankle) and center Vitor Faverani (knee).

Jazz guard Gordon Hayward, who played for Boston coach Brad Stevens at Butler from 2008-10, only hit four of 11 shots to finish with eight points as his slump continued. He did dish out eight assists, though.

Jazz guard Trey Burke had 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in his first matchup against Rondo. Burke was out with a broken finger when the teams met in November.

NOTES: Monday was the first time Boston coach Brad Stevens and Celtics rookie C Kelly Olynyk came to EnergySolutions Arena since their college teams played there during March Madness in years past. Stevens and Jazz G Gordon Hayward upset No. 1 seed Syracuse and No. 2 seed Kansas State in Utah to advance to the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2010. “When I walked in, it gave me chills,” Stevens said. Olynyk’s top-seeded Gonzaga squad didn’t have a similar experience in Utah last March. The Zags were eliminated in the second round. … Stevens and Hayward ate dinner in Salt Lake City on Sunday night to reminisce about their time together at Butler from 2008-10. “We caught up, mostly just about life, not really about basketball that much,” Hayward said. The Jazz player smiled and admitted they also talked about Stevens’ ejection in Sacramento on Saturday. “I told him if he wants to get ejected tonight that’s fine, too,” Hayward said. … Teammates filled up Jazz C Rudy Gobert’s car with popcorn after the shootaround because Gobert forgot to bring doughnuts as part of his rookie duties.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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