Big first half leads Celtics over Jazz

Salt Lake City, UT ( - Tayshaun Prince's 19 points off the bench and a huge second quarter helped carry the Boston Celtics to a 99-90 win over the Utah Jazz.

The 34-year-old veteran went 7-of-10 from the field in his highest output since joining the Celtics in a trade earlier this month, while helping his new team outscore Utah 38-14 during a dominant second quarter.

"He made us better today and he's made us better with his presence already," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "It's been fun, for our young guys too, to have another older guy to lean on and learn from."

Boston built a 55-31 halftime lead, then held off a Jazz comeback attempt down the stretch to improve to 3-2 on its current six-game trip.

Fellow reserve Tyler Zeller chipped in 14 points to the victory, with Jared Sullinger adding 12 along with nine rebounds for the Celtics.

The Jazz were denied their first three-game win streak of the season despite Gordon Hayward's game-high 26 points and a 20-point effort from Enes Kanter. Trey Burke finished with 18 points in defeat.

Neither team could get into a rhythm during a sluggish opening quarter that ended in a 17-17 tie, but the Celtics went on a major roll in the second.

Boston buried four consecutive 3-point tries while putting forth a 16-2 run that turned a four-point lead into a commanding 44-26 advantage. Prince accounted for two of those treys, the last capping the spurt with 5:10 left in the first half.

The Celtics continued to knock down long shots and extend the margin before the period concluded, with Avery Bradley's dunk off an Evan Turner feed with 2.8 seconds left staking Boston to its 24-point cushion at the break.

Boston went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc during its second-quarter outburst, with Bradley and Prince leading the barrage with 10 points apiece.

"I think it's one of those problems that permeates everything," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder of his team's first-half problems. "We didn't play hard. Maybe it's a little more complicated than that. Nothing we did was with any force. So they just knocked us back offensively."

The Jazz cut into the deficit considerably in the third quarter, using a 16-0 tear to get back in it. Kanter had eight points during the stretch, which ended on a Burke triple that suddenly pulled Utah within 60-56 late in the period.

"We knew that it was far from over, especially when they have a guy like Gordon who can just go downhill at that rate of speed and make plays for people," said Stevens. "When they start making shots, it's scary."

Utah failed to get any closer, however. Up 71-66 entering the fourth, the Celtics recorded the quarter's first eight points and maintained a double- digit lead with 4 1/2 minutes to play.

The Jazz had once last charge in them, however. Burke buried back-to-back 3- pointers to get Utah within 89-83 with 2:52 remaining, and the differential was still six after Hayward hit one to make the score 93-87 with under a minute left.

Boston was able to stay in front, though, when Turner and Brandon Bass each made two free throws with time winding down.

Game Notes

The win was Boston's seventh in its last eight meetings with Utah ... The Jazz last won three straight from Feb. 8-12 of last season ... Celtics rookie Marcus Smart returned to action after missing Sunday's game at Golden State due to a death in the family ... The Jazz blocked 10 shots, led by Derrick Favors' four rejections and three from Rudy Gobert.