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W2W4: Celtics vs. Jazz (Game 8 of 82)

11/14/2012

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Old friend Al Jefferson is back at the Garden on Wednesday night with the Jazz.Fresh off a successful two-game road trip, the Boston Celtics (4-3, 1-2 home) return home to host the Utah Jazz (4-4, 1-4 away) on Wednesday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

* BIG AL'S BACK: Since being dealt away as part of the Kevin Garnett trade, old friend Al Jefferson only makes one trip to Boston each season. In five appearances as a visitor at TD Garden, Jefferson is averaging 18.8 points and 8.8 rebounds (though his visits with the Jazz have been tame and he's shot only 8-for-30 in those two games). Jefferson is coming off a 24-point, 17-rebound effort in Utah's triple-overtime win in Toronto (one in which he hit a crucial 3-pointer at the end of regulation as Utah won its first road game of the season).

* JAZZ BEST VS. TRANSITION: According to Synergy Sports data, the Jazz allow a league-best 0.892 points per play in transition (by comparison, the Celtics rank dead last allowing 1.477 points per play in transition). Boston did a good job cranking up the tempo in Chicago, but it's vital they maintain excellent ball movement if they want to put up points against the Jazz, who will want to make this a halfcourt game.

* BOSTON'S TRANSITION D IN FOCUS: The Celtics tightened up their own transition defense a bit last time out, but the Bulls are one of the worst teams in transition (and were playing with a third-string point guard). The Jazz rank middle of the pack in transition production, but 16.6 percent of their offense comes through transition (second only to spot-up shooting). Marvin Williams and Randy Foye both have excellent transition numbers so far this season, as does Derrick Favors on limited touches.

* CAN UTAH STOP RONDO'S STREAK?: Rajon Rondo's double-digit assist streak was on life support in Chicago, but a trio of late helpers, including a feed to Brandon Bass for a wide-open slam in the final seconds, made it 31 straight games with at least 10 assists. That's the longest streak since Utahs' John Stockton went 37 games in 1989. Can Stockton's old squad snap Rondo's streak? They'll need better halfcourt defense than they've displayed so far this season to do it.