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NBA: Celtics' defense disappears in 110-98 loss at Utah

Published February 24, 2014 11:21 pm

NBA • Boston lets Jazz shoot 55 percent.
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The struggling Boston Celtics finished off an 0-4 road trip Monday night with an uninspired 110-98 loss in Utah.

Jeff Green and rookie Kelly Olynyk each scored 21 points, but the Celtics could not stop the Jazz, who shot 55 percent and finished with their most points in a game since Feb. 5.

Utah centers Derrick Favors (20) and Enes Kanter (12) combined for 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting against the undersized Celtics.

"Whenever you have 110 points given up, there's two ways to look at it," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "If you're the offensive team, you feel great about your execution and shot-making. If you're the defensive team, you try to figure out where all the issues were.

"The bottom line is they got rolling and, when they get rolling, they make tougher ones. You saw some of the pull-ups, the floaters. Favors made a couple of shots early and that kind of got him into a rhythm. And then they pounded us inside."

The Celtics return home with a 19-38 record, including previous losses on this trip to Phoenix (100-94), Sacramento (105-98) and the L.A. Lakers (101-92).

"We're trying to figure out how we can best handle these situations, night in and night out, and who can be the guys that continue to perform at [a high] level," Stevens said. "We've got guys that are capable and have done it at times. But I think we'd all say we done it consistently enough."

Asked about his performance, Green said, "I would rather win. Winning is more important than stats."

What happened against Utah, which never led by less than nine points in the second half?

"We were a step slow tonight," Green said. "We couldn't break their rhythm. When you do that in this league, it's tough to get stops. ... They got good looks and made shots."

Olynyk was the Celtics' most noticeable weapon. He went 8-for-13 from the field and also contributed eight rebounds.

"We're just trying to get better every day," Olynyk said. "Get better individually and as a team. Just keep working, keep our heads up. We're a little banged up here and there, but it's that kind of stuff you have to fight through."