SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 18 rebounds, and the surging Utah Jazz overcame Kemba Walker’s 47 points to beat the Charlotte Hornets 111-102 on Monday night.
Gobert, who is second in the league with 62 double-doubles, controlled the paint as the Jazz built enough of a lead to withstand Walker, who scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Ricky Rubio added 20 points and 13 assists for the Jazz, who have given up big games this season to guards such as Devin Booker 950 points), Derrick Rose (50) and now Walker.
In the midst of their best stretch of the season, the Jazz have won 10 of 11 and are two games back of Houston and Portland for the third and fourth slots in the Western Conference playoffs.
The closest Charlotte could get until the final minutes was 11 after a rare 3-pointer by Walker, but Mitchell responded with an acrobatic drive and Thabo Sefalosha made his fourth 3-pointer to put the Jazz back up comfortably, 102-86 with 3:26 remaining.
The Hornets are still in the race for the final spot in the Eastern Conference but their hopes grow slimmer with each loss. Charlotte trails Miami by three games for eighth place with five games left.
Charlotte lost by 47 to Golden State on Sunday and gave a better effort in the second half of its back-to-back but never seriously challenged the Jazz.
Joe Ingles scored 15, all on 3-pointers, and Sefalosha added 14.
Walker was unstoppable in the last part of the fourth period but the game had essentially been decided. After a slow start, he finished 15 of 28 from the floor and 13 of 15 from the line.
The Jazz led 21-12 before most of the starters sat and the Hornets went on a 17-7 run. Early in the second quarter, Jeremy Lamb drained Charlotte’s first 3-pointer and the Hornets took their only lead of the game.
But Charlotte only managed 29.8% first-half shooting and the Jazz led 52-39 at the half. Only with their flurry at the end, Charlotte reached 40 percent for the game.
Lamb had been in a bit of a slump, shooting 14 of 46 the last five games, but became the only scoring option beyond Walker for Charlotte in this one. He tallied 23 points and Willy Hernangomez had 15.
Charlotte experimented with variety of lineups as 11 players saw action in the first quarter. The Hornets missed 20 of their first 21 attempts behind the arc.
Hornets: Cody Zeller, who hasn’t played since March 9, sat with a sore left knee, but coach James Borrego wouldn’t say he’d played his last game this season. “We haven’t made a ruling on that yet,” Borrego said. ... The Hornets missed their first eight 3-pointers and went 1 for 16 in the first half. ... Besides Walker, the rest of Charlotte’s starting lineup had six total points.
Jazz: Regular starting power forward Derrick Favors missed the game with back spasms and Kyle Korver was out with knee soreness. Jae Crowder started and didn’t score in 24 minutes. ... The Jazz are 19-4 in games with at least 30 assists. ... Utah’s largest lead was 20 points.
Hornets: Visit New Orleans to complete their four-game road trip on Wednesday.
Jazz: Visit Phoenix on Wednesday night.