SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Jazz played better, but the result was the same.
Jayson Tatum scored 33 points, as the Boston Celtics handed Utah its fourth straight loss, all at home, 114-103 Thursday night.
Donovan Mitchell poured in 37 points on 32 shots to lead the Jazz, but the Celtics shot 53.6 percent from the field as the Jazz fell to 6th place in the Western Conference with a record of 36-22.
Quin Snyder inserted Royce O’Neale into the starting lineup, and O’Neale responded with 14 points. But Bojan Bogdanovic made just 1 of 8 shots from the field for three points, while Joe Ingles attempted just three shots for the game, finishing with two points.
All five Celtics starters finished in double figures led by Tatum, who made 13 of 20 shots from the field. Jaylen Brown had 20 points, while Marcus Smart poured in 17. Former Jazz star Gordon Hayward, who was booed every time he touched the ball, finished with 12 points.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, Boston created some separation early in the fourth. The Celtics broke an 82-all tie on a 3-pointer from Gordon Hayward in the final minute of the third. Smart then made three outside shots and Enes Kanter had three baskets in the paint to help Boston extend its lead to 100-87 with 7:22 left.
”We competed defensively,” Mitchell said. ”I think we can hang our hats on that. But now it’s about sustaining that for 48 minutes. I don’t think we should be upset at our effort, just little mistakes that we can fix. They’re a good team. They’re going to capitalize if you make mistakes.”
Utah missed 14 of its first 17 shots and scored only eight points over the game’s first 10 minutes. The Jazz shot just 27% from the floor in the period.
Boston was not much better at 36% from the field over the first 12 minutes, but the Celtics did enough to take a 19-8 lead after Smart tipped in his own missed shot.
”I thought we gave a really pure, good effort. I think you could feel it watching the game. We’ve got to make a few more shots,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”I saw a team that was committed to defending and playing together.”
The Jazz offense got rolling when Mitchell took over in the second quarter. He beat the first-quarter buzzer for his first basket and then ripped off 20 points on nine buckets over the final 12 minutes before halftime.
With Mitchell leading the way, Utah made 10 of its first 12 shots in the period and erased a 10-point deficit. The Jazz put together a 17-3 run to take a 43-39 lead. Mitchell ignited the spurt with back-to-back baskets, hit the go-ahead jumper and finished it off with a fast-break floater.
Tatum matched Mitchell’s second-quarter outburst with one of his own. He scored 18 points on seven baskets to help Boston keep pace. His final bucket in the quarter, a driving layup, gave the Celtics a 53-51 halftime lead.
Conley made 5 of 9 three-point attempts, but the rest of the team was 7 for 31 from beyond the arc.
Boston outscored the Jazz in the paint, 56-46.
Utah will try to snap this 4-game skid Friday at home against Washington. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.