EditorsNote: Reworked 2nd graf slightly
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to power the visiting Utah Jazz to a 98-86 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
Mitchell also tallied six assists one night after he took some criticism for tallying zero assists against Philadelphia one night earlier. The second-year guard had scored 31 points while taking 35 shots in a loss against the 76ers.
Ricky Rubio added 20 points while Rudy Gobert chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz. Utah never trailed after the first quarter on its way to snapping a two-game losing streak.
Kyrie Irving scored 20 points and collected eight rebounds to lead the Celtics. Boston shot just 38.5 percent from the field against the Jazz, including 5 of 33 (15.2 percent) from 3-point range.
The Jazz focused on attacking in the first quarter, and that emphasis paid off. Utah totaled 18 points in the paint in the quarter, which accounted for nine of the team’s 13 baskets in that stretch. It opened things up on the perimeter as the quarter progressed.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Mitchell and Royce O’Neale in the final minute of the first quarter highlighted a 15-4 run that gave the Jazz their first double-digit lead early in the second quarter. Mitchell punctuated the run with another 3-pointer that put Utah up 34-22.
Boston rallied and cut the deficit to one at 39-38 on a 3-pointer from Al Horford. The Celtics made it a one-point game twice more before halftime, the final time on a dunk from Horford with 2:22 left in the second quarter. But they just could not get over the hump to retake the lead. Rubio and Joe Ingles answered Horford’s dunk with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Jazz breathing room again.
It set the stage for Utah’s third-quarter explosion. Mitchell buried back-to-back 3-pointers, fed Gobert for a dunk and hit three free throws to extend the Jazz lead to 68-55 midway through the quarter.
Utah led by double digits the rest of the way. The Jazz eventually led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter, going up 94-72 after Mitchell drove for a layup and then teamed with Rubio to hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
—Field Level Media