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Walker Kessler, Simone Fontecchio Fuel Jazz Offense In First Quarter

Mar 31, 2023, 6:09 PM

BOSTON – Jazz rookies Walker Kessler and Simone Fontecchio carried Utah’s offense in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics on Friday.

The duo combined for 18 of Utah’s first 21 points.

Despite 6 first-quarter turnovers, the Jazz were able to stay in the game with quality defense.

They held the Celtics to 40% from the field and 27% from three.

Boston starters Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were held to a combined 2-9 from the floor.

Jayson Tatum was the Celtics leading scorer with 11 points on 4/6 shooting.

The Jazz led by two after the first quarter, 29-27.

Markkanen Out, Olynyk Returns As Jazz Face Celtics

The Utah Jazz will once again be without Lauri Markkanen when they travel to face the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

The Celtics are the second stop on a three-game road trip which opened with a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Boston is coming off one of its biggest wins of the season blowing out the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

The Jazz will be without Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson, and Collin Sexton as they prepare to face the Celtics.

Markkanen is missing his second straight game with a hand bruise, while Clarkson (finger) and Sexton (hamstring) have missed the majority of the team’s games since the All-Star break.

Kelly Olynyk is available for the Jazz after missing Wednesday’s game with a non-COVID illness.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored a career-high 41 in the team’s win over the Spurs. Newcomer Luka Samanic scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds in his Jazz debut.

RELATED: Utah Jazz Sign Croatian Forward Luka Šamanić To 10-Day Contract

The Jazz stunned Boston with a 118-117 victory on March 18 in the two teams’ only other meeting this season.

Celtics Have Lengthy Injury Report

While Utah received good news on the injury front, the Celtics may not be so lucky.

Star duo Jaylen Brown (low back pain) and Jayson Tatum (left hip contusion) will be gametime decisions. Al Horford (low back stiffness) and Payton Pritchard (left heel pain) are questionable for Boston.

The Celtics will be on the back end of a back-to-back after dismissing the Bucks 140-99 on Thursday in Milwaukee.

Boston holds the second seed in the Eastern Conference with just two games separating them from Milwaukee.

Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics will tip off at 5:30 pm MT. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Walker Kessler, Simone Fontecchio Fuel Jazz Offense In First Quarter