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Jazz's favorite starting lineup gets things going

Published February 24, 2014 10:56 pm

Derrick Favors is back as a starter, and helps in an early blitz.
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The Jazz's No. 1 starting lineup was available Monday night against Boston.

The result was probably predictable.

Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams started together for the 26th time this season.

Utah improved to 17-9 in those games after its 110-98 victory over the Celtics at EnergySolutions Arena.

"That group has a good rhythm," Jefferson said.

Against Boston, Favors returned from a three-game absence because of a hip injury, allowing coach Tyrone Corbin to use his favorite lineup for the first time since the All-Star break.

The starters responded with an early blitz — the Jazz built a 27-18 lead after the first quarter — and Utah cruised to victory.

"That first group just has a trust and a confidence in each other. …" Corbin said. "They can get stops and, on the offensive end, the ball moves and we take advantage of the opportunities we get."

The Celtics shot only 33.3 percent in the first quarter, which Williams believes is evidence of the solid defense played by the starters.

"That group could be one of our best defensive teams," he said. "I'm not a traditional 'four' so I can guard different guys. And R.J. is a veteran who has been guarding the best players in the world for a long time."

Combined with Hayward's ability to defend the perimeter and Favors' presence in the lane, Williams sees a team that makes it difficult for the opposition to score.

"When you put it all in a bucket," he said, "that probably has a lot to do with us winning games with that lineup."

Said Corbin: "They understand each other. … And Derrick makes a real difference for us on the defensive end. We can do a few more things when he's in there ­— the way he can move and the way he communicates."

Asked about the success of the lineup that buried Boston, Jefferson cites a deeper bench.

When they don't have to start, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter can be difficult for the opposing second unit to stop.

Burks had 21 against the Celtics. Kanter added 12.

"When you bring Enes off the bench and Alec off the bench, those two can cause havoc," Jefferson said. "Those guys are two of our best scorers. They can lead us in scoring on any given night."

The experience provided by Williams and Jefferson might also be a factor.

"Me and Marv, we try to give the game a little intensity," he said. "We try to start the game the right way." —

In short

• The Jazz's starting five combine for 70 points on 28-of-52 shooting during a 110-98 victory over Boston.

• Utah improves to 17-9 when it starts Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams.