Utah and Boston face off in a rematch of their November 9th game, which Utah won 123-115. The Jazz are coming off an embarrassing 50-point loss to Dallas on Wednesday. This surprising blowout was an aberration and they will be trying to get back on track, while playing the second night of a road back-to-back. Utah are balanced team, Donovan Mitchell leads the way with 20.4 ppg. Rudy Gobert is a force in the middle, averaging 15.9 ppg and 13.2 rpg and 2.2bpg. The Jazz are a strong defensive team, ranked 10th in opponent ppg, however they are middle of the pack when it comes to scoring (ranked 14th in ppg).
Boston are an even better defensive team, ranked 3rd in opponent ppg and the Celtics will be looking to avenge their earlier loss. Kyrie Irving was not in the line-up during the last game. Having their best player and highest scorer back in the line-up changes the equation, and gives Boston a significant advantage in the match-up at point guard versus Ricky Rubio. Gordon Hayward will want to have a strong showing against his former team, but he needs to not force the issue. In the first game he shot the ball poorly (33%) and was unable to get his offense going.
The key to the game will be Boston's ability to guard Utah on the perimeter they cannot allow Joe Ingles to go off for 27 points and 5/9 from 3pt range again. If Boston can disrupt the passing lanes and defend well against the outside shot, they should be able avenge the loss from the teams' first meeting.