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Jazz try to repeat history vs. red-hot Celtics

Dec 15, 2008 - 2:49 PM Utah (15-10) at Boston (22-2), 7:30pm EST

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Last season, victories at TD Banknorth Garden by teams other than the Boston Celtics were few and far between. The Utah Jazz, however, were one of the few teams that were able to pull it off.

Still trying to find some level of continuity in the midst of an injury-riddled campaign, the Jazz will try to repeat last season's feat as they visit the Celtics on Monday night.

The Celtics have been stingy once again on their home floor, going 13-1 so far. Then again, they've been practically unbeatable with or without the parquet floor. They have won 14 straight, with their last loss coming more than a month ago in a December 14 loss to Utah's Northwest Division rival, the Denver Nuggets.

Before and since, Boston has shown nothing less than championship form. The Celtics are the league's second-stingiest defensive club, yielding just 90.5 points per game. The "Big Three" of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are averaging 54. 0 points and 19.1 boards while getting more than enough rest to preserve them for the long run.

Things haven't gotten quite as smoothly for the Jazz, who have battled injury after injury and thus have yet to find much consistency on a night-to-night basis. Olympians Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer have both missed significant time - and, in fact, the Jazz have yet to put their true starting five on the floor for a single game this season.

Williams, for his part, has begun to look more healthy over the last week after battling a severely sprained left ankle that sidelined him for 13 games. He is no longer wearing the protective brace that limited his mobility upon his return, though the lift and explosion off his left foot have been depleted, affecting his shot in the process.

Boozer, meanwhile, has missed the last 13 games with a strained left quadriceps tendon and bruised knee - and likely will not return against Boston.

The Jazz would certainly like to have both of their stars back in full health as they take on the reigning league champions. Williams scored 32 points and dished out eight assists and Boozer added 17 points and 12 boards in last March's road meeting in Boston, leading the Jazz to a 110-92 upset over the Celtics.