Mitchell scores 28, Jazz beat Pelicans 118-102

Sports
Donovan Mitchell, Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, goes to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 28 points and seven rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-102 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Mitchell also made four of Utah’s 21 3-pointers. Jordan Clarkson added 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and reserve Joe Ingles scored 15 points. Rudy Gobert had 13 points, 18 rebounds, and three blocks.

“The biggest thing is we’re shooting our shots,” Mitchell said. “We’re not passing up 3s.”

Improved defensive play has keyed Utah’s surge on the perimeter, and it continued against New Orleans. The Jazz disrupted shots, crashed the boards, and sprinted up the court on numerous possessions to stay a step ahead of the Pelicans.

“Defending creates those shots and defending keeps us in the game if they’re not going in,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

Zion Williamson scored 32 points for New Orleans, and Brandon Ingram had 17. The Pelicans trailed the entire second half after allowing the Jazz to make more than 20 3-pointers for the fourth time in six games.

“We couldn’t stop them on anything,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Obviously what stands out is the 21 3s. But they also didn’t have any trouble getting to the rim. So, you know, they got whatever they wanted we didn’t take anything away from them.”

Williamson gave the Pelicans an early lift in the first half. He converted all five of his first-quarter field goal attempts and capped a 7-0 run with a layup that put New Orleans up 20-18.

Mitchell matched his efficiency. He powered the Jazz offense in the first quarter, scoring 15 points while going 6 for 7 from the field. He converted a three-point play to punctuate an 11-2 run that gave Utah a 29-22 lead.

Mitchell also had a key stretch in the second quarter. He scored and threw a one-handed wraparound pass as he was falling out of bounds out to Bojan Bogdanovic to set up another basket. The two plays bumped Utah back in front 55-49 before halftime.

The Jazz carried that momentum into the third quarter. Utah made 3-pointers on four straight possessions to extend its lead to 73-55.

Utah made eight total 3-pointers during the quarter. Clarkson and Ingles scored the final two on back-to-back possessions to push the Jazz lead to 91-69 heading into the fourth quarter.

“They continued to put the pressure on us, breaking us down on the defensive end with their driving and kicking in,” Ingram said. “That’s usually just how they play.”

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Lonzo Ball returned after a three-game absence due to a knee injury. Ball finished with seven points, four assists, and three steals. … Williamson had back-to-back 30-point games for the first time in his NBA career. … New Orleans scored 22 points off 14 Jazz turnovers.

Jazz: Ingles returned after a three-game absence due to Achilles tendon soreness. … Mike Conley had a team-high 10 assists. … Derrick Favors had nine points and seven rebounds in his first game against the Pelicans after spending last season in New Orleans.

BUCKLING DOWN

One game after giving up a season-high 23 offensive rebounds to Denver, the Jazz clamped down on the glass against New Orleans. The Pelicans had 10 offensive boards and scored 10 second-chance points.

Utah finished with a 60-45 edge on total rebounds. The Jazz made rebounding a collective effort instead of simply trying to battle Williamson and Steven Adams one-on-one around the basket.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Utah on Thursday.

Jazz: Host New Orleans on Thursday.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss