Mitchell-led Jazz don’t let guard down with blowout win over LeBron-less Lakers

SALT LAKE CITY — At one point in Friday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, Donovan Mitchell’s momentum carried him up a few rows into the stands behind the Utah Jazz basket.

Considering how the made-for-SportsCenter highlight machine played in this ESPN-televised game — not to mention his dramatically improved play of late — it’s almost surprising Jazz fans didn’t lift Mitchell up and pass him around the appreciative and hyped-up crowd.

The second-year star carried the injury-plagued Jazz to a rousing 113-95 win over the much-improved Lakers with 33 points, nine assists, two blocked shots and one rim-crushing dunk that JaVale McGee would prefer to never think of again.

On a night when the Jazz needed an extra boost because of the absence of their top three point guards, Jazz coach Quin Snyder loved how Mitchell attacked, attacked and then attacked some more to keep the Lakers on their heels.

“He was ready to go tonight,” Snyder said of Mitchell, who hit 14 of 24 shots with four 3-pointers.

????| Donovan with 33 points—his 4th straight game with 26 points or more.

He added 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks & 1 steal.


— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 12, 2019

Mitchell wasn’t the only Jazz player who played like he’d put in extra preparation for the team that stands between an on-the-rise Utah team and a playoff spot.

Royce O’Neale got the Jazz off to a great start, hitting two quick 3s, and finished with 17 points while getting extended minutes to fill a gap left by injuries to point guards Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto.

O’Neale finished with 17 points, going 5 for 12 from beyond the arc, while also hauling in seven rebounds with two steals. He ended up playing 40 minutes, which is more than he’d played combined in the past four games (38 minutes).

“Royce, we’ve said it time and time again, he knows it — if you’re open, be ready to shoot, take your shot and shoot it with confidence,” Snyder said. “Royce has earned his playing time and minutes on the defensive end and being opportunistic offensively.”

The Jazz — with their “next man up” mantra — also got valuable contributions from Rudy Gobert (12 points, 18 rebounds), Derrick Favors (15 points, 13 rebounds), Joe Ingles (14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds) and several bench players, including seldom-used Georges Niang (plus-13 in 21 minutes).

????| Fav moved into #4 on our all-time rebounds list tonight!

15p | 13r | 1a | 1b

— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 12, 2019

Even G-League guard Naz Mitrou-Long can brag to friends about outscoring LeBron James in this one, 2-0. (He might leave out the fact that James missed the game because of a left groin strain.)

Snyder liked that the Jazz made it tough on the Lakers, who shot just 35.9 percent and scored 17 points fewer than their season average of 112.2 points per game.

“We guarded. We defended well,” Snyder said. “I thought guys were disciplined …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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