Al Jefferson is indirectly responsible for everything good that has happened to the Boston Celtics since that fateful day when he was traded from the C's to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course, he never played for the Celtics in their championship season in 2007-08, nor did he have a part in the nearly-title winning campaign in 2009-10.
Had he never been drafted by the Celtics, Jefferson couldn't have been dealt to Minny for a guy named Kevin Garnett, and the rest is history. So thanks Big Al. Thanks for being so tradable.
Jefferson and his current team, the Utah Jazz, will make their return to TD Garden for their only meeting of the year with the Celts at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night (TV/Radio: CSN/WEEI).
WIthout surprise, Jefferson is having another solid year. In 45 games, Jefferson is nearly averaging a double-double with 19.4 points and 9.3 boards. His efforts have not gone to waste, either, as the Jazz are currently the seventh seed in the West at 27-23, which places them second in the Northwest Division.
Boston, on the other hand, has had its ups and downs but has been playing solid basketball since the All-Star break (give or take a few games here and there -- I'm looking at you, Sacramento). The Celtics are tied atop the Atlantic Division in the East with a 27-22 record and are the seventh seed in the conference. Should they finish with a better record than Philly, the Celtics would clinch the fourth seed (or higher) in the East, meaning they would avoid a first-round matchup with the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat.
The last time the Celtics and Jazz met was on February 28, 2011, but a monster game from Jefferson (28 points, 19 rebounds) was not enough to give Utah the win as Boston prevailed, 107-102. The two teams also met once earlier that season, with Boston winning 110-86 behind a 21-point night from Garnett.
Boston heads back out on the road after this two-game pit stop to face the Minnesota Timberwolves, now without Ricky Rubio, before returning home to host the Heat on Sunday.