Friday , December 15, 2017 - 8:33 PM
Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell (45) drives for the basket between Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown, left, and Aron Baynes during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Hood also finished with 17 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak. It was Utah’s first victory in Boston since 2008, a span of nine games.
But the win came at a cost.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert left the game early in the first quarter with a left knee injury after teammate Derrick Favors fell backward into his leg. Gobert was able to walk off the court on his own power, but went straight to the locker room and did not return.
The second quarter brought more injuries. First, Boston’s Daniel Theis left with a facial injury. Later, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics caught Favors with an incidental elbow, leaving him bleeding from his left eye and Brown from his elbow. Favors received six stitches and did not return.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 33 points. Al Horford added 21 points and seven assists.
Friday was the first meeting between the teams since Gordon Hayward left Utah in free agency last summer to join the Celtics. But Hayward could only watch as he continues to rehab from the broken left ankle he suffered in Boston’s season opener.
Joe Johnson returned to game action for the first time since Oct. 30. He missed 21 straight games while dealing with a right wrist injury.
The Jazz held a 46-39 lead at the half. They were led by Rubio and Hood, who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, and shot a combined 10 for 13 from the field.
The Jazz led by as many as 10 in the half and outscored the Celtics 25-13 in the second quarter.
The Celtics struggled from the field in the second quarter, shooting a combined 4 for 21.
Jazz: G Raul Neto sat out his second straight game with a concussion.
Celtics: It was Irving’s ninth game this season with 30 or more points. ... Started the second quarter 0 for 14 from the field.
Hayward is open to playing this season, but said it will depend on how fast he is able to heal and show progress as he works his way back from a broken left ankle.
Hayward was a spectator at TD Garden for Friday’s matchup with Jazz, the team he left this past summer in free agency after seven seasons to sign a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics.
“My mind is open to that,” Hayward said of the possibility of returning to game action before season’s end. “I’m trying to get back as fast as I can. It all depends on how I heal, and taking it day-by-day, goal by goal. We’ll see what happens.”
Wednesday marked a milestone in Hayward’s recovery process, when he was able to shed the walking boot he’s been using since his surgery in October. He will continue to wear a protective brace during the rehab process.
NO HARD FEELINGS
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said no one feels any animosity over Hayward’s decision to leave Utah.
“I think everybody understands the decision that he made,” Snyder said. “So to see him get hurt, it was hard. I felt horrible for him. I think most of the guys on our team reached out. I know I did. I think he was appreciative of that. At this point we wish him well in his rehab. We hope that he’s back soon.”
Marcus Morris (knee soreness) sat out his fourth straight game and won’t travel for the upcoming two-game trip. Morris has played in just 16 games this season while dealing with the injury and recently sought a second opinion on it.
“He’s had a little bit of a setback here, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a long-term thing,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Jazz: Continue six-game trip Saturday at Cleveland.
Celtics: Begin two-game trip Friday at Memphis.