Prince helps Celtics edge Jazz 99-90
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) For one night at least, Tayshaun Prince brought back memories of his successful run with Detroit at the start of his career.
Prince scored 19 points, and the Boston Celtics held off the Utah Jazz for a 99-90 victory on Monday.
''I just had shots fall for me tonight and got in a good rhythm,'' Prince said. ''Everybody knows I bring some intangibles and defense. I can slow things downs and help my teammates out, but tonight shots were falling and that made it even better.''
Tyler Zeller had 14 points and seven rebounds for Boston, which grabbed control with a big second quarter. Jared Sullinger had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Avery Bradley also scored 12.
The 34-year-old Prince, who was acquired from Memphis in a three-team trade on Jan. 12, was 7 for 10 from the field and 3 for 4 at the free-throw line.
''Tayshaun always knows what's going on,'' Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. ''He's lived it all. A team has got you down by 20 in a quarter and it doesn't look like his pulse has moved. You go up by 20 and it doesn't look like his pulse has moved. He's just playing and he plays the right way. He made us better today.''
Gordon Hayward had 26 points for Utah, and Enes Kanter finished with 20. Reserve Trey Burke added 18 points, and Derrick Favors finished with 13 points with eight rebounds.
The Celtics (16-27) dominated both sides of the floor in the second quarter, jumping to a 55-31 halftime lead. Boston outscored Utah 38-14 in the quarter while shooting 60 percent from the field for the period.
''We didn't play hard,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ''Maybe it's a little more complicated than that, we played soft as much as anything.''
Utah shot 29.4 percent from the field in the second, but put together a big third period to get back in the game. Hayward had 13 in the third and Kanter scored 10. Hayward's 3-pointer trimmed Boston's lead to 71-66 heading into the final period.
But the Celtics pulled away in the fourth.
''We just got real slow with our ball movement in the third quarter, kind of satisfied with the lead,'' Prince said. ''We just passed the ball one time and shoot it. So when I got in there, I told the guys we were going to have to get some ball movement and take better shots.''
Burke and Sullinger grew up together and played on the same high school team in Columbus, Ohio. Sullinger's dad, Satch, coached the team.
Hayward played college ball at Butler under Celtics coach Brad Stevens. The two led the Bulldogs to the 2010 title game, losing to Duke 61-59.
POINT GUARD COMP
Jazz rookie Dante Exum has started the last three games, with Burke playing in a reserve role. Exum averaged 14 points and 4.5 assists in wins over Milwaukee and Brooklyn. He was held scoreless with two assists in 25 minutes against the Celtics.
Burke put up points in bunches for the second consecutive game after scoring 19 against the Nets on Saturday. He played the fourth-quarter, crunch-time minutes Monday.
''I see him as a sixth starter,'' Snyder said before the game. ''That group has struggled to score and I think he gives us that. I'm going to keep on him about defending the position and continuing to improve in that area, too. ... There's probably more opportunities that come to him because there's a little more need to create.''
Jazz: Forward Jeremy Evans did not play due to an illness. ... The Jazz outscored the Celtics 44-36 in the paint. ... The biggest Jazz lead was two points, three times in the first quarter.
Celtics: The Celtics have won two of three, including a narrow three-point loss to Golden State last week. ... All 10 players who saw the floor scored. ... The Celtics are now 4-4 on the second night of back-to-back games.
Jazz: Host the Clippers on Wednesday.
Celtics: Visit the Timberwolves on Wednesday.