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SALT LAKE CITY — Listening to Jazz coach Quin Snyder's first few answers and Friday's game against the Boston Celtics didn't sound like it was too promising.
"There was a stretch where we just turned it over — a lot of them were unforced, or slippy or careless," he said.
"We didn't defend at the level that we needed to as evidenced by the 41 we gave up in the third quarter."
It was an interesting night full of turnovers, fouls, and major defensive struggles. Yet, the Jazz left Vivint Arena with their third straight win with a 137-130 victory over the Celtics. The 267 combined points is the most scored in a Jazz regulation game since 1990.
So with everything that went wrong, how did Utah get the win? Turns out, shooting can cover up a lot of issues.
The Celtics have played many games in their storied history, but they've never had a team hit as many 3-pointers against them as they did on Friday night. The Jazz hit 27 triples — just one off of Utah's all-time record, and smashing the previous high by a Boston opponent of 23.
And the Jazz needed just about every single one of them.
With 28.8 seconds remaining, Donovan MItchell pulled up from 29 feet and buried the a 3-pointer — that was the 27th make of the night, and it gave the Jazz a 6-point lead.
It was part of a big run by Mitchell and Mike Conley, who combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter. Mitchell's 3-pointer in the final minute was preceded by Conley's own triple after the Celtics had cut the lead down to 2 with 1:16 remaining. Mitchell finished with 34 points in the game and Conley had 29 points.
The two gave the Jazz enough breathing room to get the win, but it was a journey to get there.
The Jazz committed eight turnovers in the first quarter and were called for 27 fouls; that's how they gave up over 120 points for the first time this season.
"Really, the only thing that let them back in the game was turnovers," Mitchell said. "The problem is our turnovers weren't like aggressive turnovers. You'll take the ones where you're driving and trying to pass and trying to make something happen, but it's the ones when you're just like lob passes and stuff like that."
Like the ones that came over and over again in the first half. There were plenty of offenders: Mitchell, Conley, Joe Ingles, Trent Forrest, Rudy Gay, Rudy Gobert, etc. In fact, the only Jazz player to get action on Friday that didn't get a turnover was Bojan Bogdanovic.
Most of the turnovers were lazy, too: short passes that were easily picked off by the Celtics. It was a head-scratcher, and all those turnovers led to an early 14-point lead that evaporated.
The good news for the Jazz is that what got them the lead — some red-hot shooting — never left.
The Jazz were 27 of 51 from 3-point range to finish 53% from behind the arc; Conley was 7 of 7, Mitchell was 6 of 14, Bogdnaoivc was 4 of 7 and Ingles was 3 of 5.
"There's some nights where you don't make (shots) and you get a night like tonight where the ball goes in, and we took advantage of it," Snyder said.
It came at the perfect time since Utah struggled to contain Jayson Tatum — he had 37 points, six rebounds and five assists — and couldn't keep from fouling. Utah had a tough whistle with the refs calling some ticky-tack screen fouls and getting fooled by some Marcus Smart flops. The officials didn't do them any favors, but the Jazz also just legitimately fouled a lot, too.
"There are a lot of times when we were in a good position and they were about to take a tough shot, and we just reached down, swiped down," Gobert said.
He said that there were times they got the ball, times they got the hand, and times they completely whiffed. On Friday, though, it felt that every time they reached, it was a foul.
"Tonight they were going to call a foul regardless," Gobert said. "So we can't give them an opportunity to call a foul; we have to be more disciplined."
Gobert played the final six minutes of the game with five fouls, and the Jazz were in the penalty for half of the final quarter as well.
In the end, though, the shooting saved them.
"We hit shots and we just executed, that's really it when it comes down to it," Mitchell said. "There's a certain point in the game. We just got to be like, 'Alright, I'm executing.'"