Donovan Mitchell leads Jazz past Pelicans, 127-105
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to help the Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 127-105 on Saturday night.
Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson had 20 points apiece for the Jazz and Joe Ingles added 15 while making his fourth start of the season.
A night after falling 98-97 to the Pelicans, Utah never trailed after the opening minute and shot 56% percent from the floor overall. The Jazz made a season-high 20 3-pointers shooting 57% from 3-point range.
“We were locked in and focused,” Mitchell said. “When we’re that team for 48 minutes, we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
Jaxson Hayes led New Orleans with 15 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
After making 11 3-pointers and shooting 40% from the perimeter in their win over Utah on Friday, the Pelicans made a single 3-pointer on 24 attempts through the first three quarters on Saturday.
“We spent a lot of energy last night fighting to win that game and I thought we looked a little tired tonight,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “With that being said, we have to push through fatigue, these are the type of games that we have to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”
Utah ripped off a 19-4 run during the first quarter and surged out to a 30-14 lead. Mitchell gave the offense an early spark. He scored three baskets — culminating in a 3-pointer that gave the Jazz a 16-point advantage — and assisted five others during the quarter.
Things only grew worse for New Orleans in the second quarter. Mitchell scored three straight baskets to spark a 12-0 run that extended Utah’s lead to 62-33 midway through the quarter.
The Jazz eventually built a 40-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
A blowout victory is a step in a positive direction for Utah after a string of disappointing home losses marked by inconsistent play on offense and defense.
“We’re not the same team as we were last year,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Everybody has had different experiences from the time the playoffs ended to this year. Because of that, finding a new level of consistency is something we need to work toward.”
Pelicans: Valanciunas needs just one rebound to reach 6,000 for his career. … New Orleans started 0 of 20 from 3-point range before Nickeil Alexander-Walker broke the ice late in the third quarter. … Pelicans edged Utah 45-41 in rebounds.
Jazz: Royce O’Neale did not play (right ankle/foot sprain). … Utah scored a season-high 37 points in the first quarter.
NO REST THIS TIME
Snyder played Conley on Saturday after he had already played Friday, changing up his usual approach of resting the veteran point guard in at least one game of a back-to-back set. Conley played only 21 minutes after playing 31 minutes a night earlier, but his presence helped keep the Jazz steady on offense throughout the first three quarters.
“Tonight, I felt like it was an important game,” Conley said. “It was important for me to be a part of it and get us playing better basketball.”
“I feel like if we hadn’t made a 3-pointer the whole game, but we guarded like that, we would have been in a good position to win the game anyway. I feel like that’s how good our defense was.” – Donovan Mitchell on the Jazz locking down the perimeter.
Pelicans: At Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
Jazz: Host Portland on Monday night.
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