Celtics Defense Dismantles Jazz In Difficult Outing
SALT LAKE CITY – The Boston Celtics continued their incredible run of 23 wins in their last 27 outings with a convincing 125-97 thrashing of the Utah Jazz.
Boston blitzed the Jazz with a perfect 10-10 shooting performance to open the game and never looked back as they kept their lead above 15 over the final three quarters of the game.
Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points on an efficient 13-24 shooting performance for his fourth straight 30 point outing.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 24, 2022
Jazz Struggle With Celtics Defense
The Jazz had no answer for the Celtics defense which relies on trusting their long, athletic roster to switch on every screen from their opponent.
While the Jazz looked to exploit one on one mismatches, the Celtics were happy to see the Jazz offense abandon its willingness to pass the ball in favor of an isolation-heavy attack.
Since Rudy Gobert is reliant on lobs or dump-off passes to create the majority of his scoring, and he’s mostly unable to punish smaller defenders when they are switched onto him near the basket, the Jazz offense ground to an ugly halt for the second straight game over the last 72 hours.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 24, 2022
The Jazz coaching staff tried to counter the Celtics offense by starting Eric Paschall in place of the injured Bojan Bogdanovic but saw very few positive results.
In recent games, the newly acquired Juancho Hernangomez has gotten the start for the Jazz in Bogdanovic’s absence, but against the switchy Celtics defense, Paschall’s isolation ability was a greater need in the starting lineup.
Paschall, however, was unable to generate the usual easy looks that have made him a fan favorite throughout the year, finishing with 11 points on 4-12 shooting while failing to grab a rebound in 24 minutes with the starters.
This is the Celtics 3rd string center pic.twitter.com/63GS34m8NY
— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) March 24, 2022
Mike Conley also struggled to score against the Celtics length as he finished with just nine points on a similar 4-12 shooting.
Only Mitchell’s ability to get downhill was successful against Boston, but despite his ability to score the ball, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Jazz to stay competitive with the Celtics.
The Jazz struggles against switch-heavy defenses are nothing new, but Boston’s easy dismantling of the best offensive in the NBA is a troubling reminder of how vulnerable the Jazz are against a defense they’re sure to see repeatedly throughout the playoffs.
How Often Do Great Teams Get Blown Out?
The Jazz 28 point loss is their second-largest of the season and their fourth 20+ point blowout of the season.
With the Jazz having championship aspirations, I wanted to look back often former champions got blown out during the regular season.
Let’s back at the last 10 NBA champions and how many times they lost by 20 points or more in their title-winning seasons, and see how that compares to the Jazz this year.
Last year the Milwaukee Bucks were blown out four times last season by at least 20, including a 31 point loss to the Denver Nuggets in early March.
The #UtahJazz were visibly frustrated at the end of their loss to the #Celtics tonight. Several players with blank stares on their faces and a dejected look. Quin Snyder responded to that after the game 👇🏽#TakeNote l @KSLSports pic.twitter.com/J4bmH7ZAWM
— Sam Farnsworth (@Samsworth_KSL) March 24, 2022
In 2019-20, the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out only twice, but those included a 32 point loss to the Celtics and a 24 points loss to the Nuggets before winning a title in the bubble in Orlando.
The Toronto Raptors had three losses of 20 or more in their championship run in 2018-19. Their worst loss came at the hands of the Orlando Magic, though they suffered their second-biggest loss of the season in mid-March to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Golden State Warriors suffered four losses of at least 20 in their 2017-18 campaign, including a 40 point loss to the Jazz, five times in 2016-17, and zero times in 2014-15.
"I don't know how many games we have to lose again to have that shift happen but I think we're going to get ther." – Rudy
"We can't just say get to the finish line and turn it on… The time is now." – Donovan
Listen here 👇🏽#TakeNote l @KSLSports pic.twitter.com/5l6AqyCAOP
— Sam Farnsworth (@Samsworth_KSL) March 24, 2022
The Cavaliers were blown out three times in 2015-16, including a 3 point drubbing at the hands of the Warriors who they would go on to beat in the Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs suffered two 20 point blowouts in 2013-14, and a third 21 point loss in the playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks.
Similarly, the Miami Heat lost only twice during the regular season by 20 or more in 2012-13 but suffered a 36 point loss to the Spurs in the Finals before earning the title. The Heat lost just once by more than 20 the previous season, a 34 point loss to the Washington Wizards.
In total, there were 26 blowouts by eventual champions over the last decade, with highs of five by the Warriors in 2016-17, and four by the Bucks last season.
Only the Warriors in 2014-15 never lost a game by at least 20, a remarkable feat over an 82 game season.
Ultimately, the Jazz four blowouts this season aren’t great for fans to suffer through, but they are not wildly outside of the standard deviation of other teams who went on to win titles in those seasons.
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