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Utah Jazz lose momentum, then game vs. Boston Celtics
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) holds his head after dunking as Boston Celtics center Vitor Faverani (38) stands nearby during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) controls a rebound against Boston Celtics center Vitor Faverani (38) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) drives against Boston Celtics forwards Kelly Olynyk (41) and Jared Sullinger (7) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) loses control of the ball as Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) moves in at left during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) is cleared out by Boston Celtics power forward Jeff Green, right, as he shoots during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin appeals to referee Derek Richardson during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, left, plays tight defense as Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk drives during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks (10) dribbles against the defense of Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz players react on the bench after a play in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) drives against Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens reacts on the sidelines during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics defeated the Utah Jazz 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who is recovering from knee surgery, applauds on the bench during the second half of the Celtics' NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Celtics guard Phil Pressey (26) looks to pass against Utah Jazz guard Ian Clark (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics orward Kelly Olynyk (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The Celtics won 97-87. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Boston • Gordon Hayward spun around and leaned back in the air, fading in the direction of the Celtics’ bench and his old college coach, as his jumper pushed the Utah Jazz’s lead to 16-3 midway through the first quarter.

But basketball at this level is a game of swings. Momentum shifts.

Hayward’s former coach, Brad Stevens, said as much Wednesday night after beating the Utah Jazz 97-87 and earning his first victory as head coach of the Boston Celtics.

“The game, in the NBA,” the ex-Butler coach said, “just fluctuates.”

For the Jazz, to this point, losing has been a constant.

But how the team got there Wednesday — its fifth straight loss to open the campaign, marking the team’s worst start since the franchise moved to Utah — was marked by ups and downs.

Story continues below

After a hot start came misery — a lifeless second quarter that saw Utah counter its awful offensive production by allowing Jeff Green and the Celtics too much time and space to line up and knock down shots. Boston was on a 40-14 run when the halftime buzzer sounded.

There was a comeback after that. Down by 25 at one point and playing the second game of back-to-back thousands of miles from home, the Jazz battled back in the fourth quarter, cutting the Celtics’ lead to six before turnovers and timely Boston buckets sealed the loss.

As they turn toward a Friday night game in Chicago, it would be easy enough for the winless Jazz, firmly in the midst of a rebuilding season, to try to remember that silver lining above all else.

“The guys showed some fight at the end of the game,” coach Ty Corbin said.

But sitting on 0-5, Jazz forward Richard Jefferson wasn’t claiming any moral victories.

“That’s fools’ gold,” he said. “I think it’s great to try and save face but we came in here against a team we feel was in a similar position as us. They’re a team that was hungry and needed a win, and when you get two teams that both need wins, you’re going to see who wants it more. Obviously, tonight, they did.”

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At a glance

Storylines Celtics 97, Jazz 87

The Jazz jump out to a 16-3 lead but find themselves trailing by as much as 25.

» Gordon Hayward scores a game-high 28 points.

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