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Utah Jazz blog: Slowing down Celtics' Thomas in fourth quarter a priority

Published February 11, 2017 12:15 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The mission for the Utah Jazz on Saturday night is to figure out a way to slow Isaiah Thomas down in the fourth quarter.

It seems like an easier task on the surface than it is in reality. Thomas has been one of the best players in the NBA in the fourth quarter — the time where you want to be one of the best players in the NBA.

That's why the Boston Celtics are dangerous and unique in their own right. That's also why the Celtics are 34-19 on the season and in second place in the Eastern Conference — one of the few teams that look capable of giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a run in the playoffs.

"He's been very good this season," Jazz point guard George Hill said of Thomas. "He plays with a lot of heart, and we've got to find a way to do a good job on him."

Of course, many will point to another matchup with the Jazz and the Celtics as a reason to talk about Utah small forward Gordon Hayward and his pending free agency. His small forward counterpart for the Celtics, Jae Crowder, is listed as out for Saturday night.

The Jazz want to erase the sour taste of letting Thursday night's 20 point lead slip away at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. That turned a sure win into a 112-105 overtime loss, something the Jazz would love to rebound from.

Utah enters Saturday night with a 34-20 record. The Jazz have won 11 of their last 15 games, and are sitting in the fourth spot in the Western Conference. Hill, who missed Thursday night's game, is expected to play on Saturday night.

— Tony Jones


Twitter: @tribjazz






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