Celtics-Jazz preview: First time for everything

Celtics-Jazz preview: First time for everything
November 6, 2013, 12:00 pm
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BOSTON — Even in Brooklyn, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are putting the Celtics in a position to win.

Brooklyn's 104-88 beat-down of the Jazz on Tuesday insured that the Celtics would host a winless Utah (0-4) team tonight in a game that may serve as Boston's best chance to get Brad Stevens his first win as an NBA head coach.

"Losing hurts," Jazz coach Ty Corbin told reporters after Tuesday's loss to the Nets. "It should hurt. It’s four losses in the first four games. But you know what? Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come and fight and keep working and try to get better and win a game."

The Celtics (0-4) have adopted a similar mindset as they try to avoid sharing the worst start in franchise history with the 1946-47 Celtics team that opened with five straight losses.

"We need a win for our confidence," said Boston's Gerald Wallace. "We need a win, a pretty good win to get back on track."

Said Corbin: "They need a win, we need a win. And they’re not going to lay down and let us have it. We’ve got to go in there and fight."

Here are a few more keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Celtics have to pick up the tempo if they are to get off this losing skid. They rank dead-last in the league in pace (number of possessions per 48 minutes) at 93.53 possessions per game. Utah isn't much better. The Jazz rank 21st in the league in pace, at 96.47 possessions per game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs Derrick Favors. Once again Bass will have his hands full dealing with a longer, athletic big man. Favors, in his first year as a starter, is averaging a near double-double with 11.8 points, 9.3 rebounds as well as 2.3 assists per game.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Fourth-year player Gordon Hayward has increased his scoring average every year and is now averaging 16.8 points per game. Hayward, who played for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens at Butler, will be a restricted free agent this summer. You can bet that a number of teams, including Boston, will express some level of interest in the 6-foot-8 forward.

STAT TO TRACK: Success via the three-point shot has been a long shot this season for both Boston and Utah. The Celtics are shooting  26.2 percent while the Jazz have connected on 24.1 percent to rank 26th and 28th, respectively.