Mitchell scores 26 to help Jazz beat Nets 114-106
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell made the most of his opportunity in place of the injured Rudy Gobert.
Mitchell scored 26 points, including four in the final minute, to lead the Utah Jazz to a 114-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
“I didn’t want to settle for the shots I can get any time I want,” the rookie said. “I wanted to get to the basket and get in a groove. When you get to the basket, it opens up your outside shot and you can find guys.”
Without Gobert, who sat with a bruised knee, Derrick Favors had season highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Jazz snapped their four-game losing streak.
Favors himself played with a balky knee last season but feels like he’s fully healthy now.
“I got my explosiveness back and my quickness,” he said. “I can move laterally better and I just feel good.”
After trailing by 12 with 3:52 to play, DeMarre Carroll led a last-gasp comeback with six quick points to pull Brooklyn to 108-104, but Mitchell hit two free throws and had a sensational tip-in to clinch the victory.
“My first intention was to dunk it but the defender backed up a bit and I had to tip it in. I didn’t even know it went in at first,” Mitchell said, although the roar of the crowd told him all he needed to know.
The Jazz have been one of the few holdouts in the new small-ball era in the NBA, as they usually feature two non-stretch big players. With Gobert sidelined, Utah often had just one interior player on the floor and it worked.
It also didn’t hurt that the Nets were finishing a five-game road trip and a back-to-back.
D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points for the Nets but limped to the locker room with 2:35 to play and did not return. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 19 points and Carroll finished with 15.
“I felt like in the second half we came out more together, focused, more locked in. It showed in our play. Obviously, we’re hurt about the loss, but on a good note we competed and were more locked in at the end,” Hollis-Jefferson said.
The Nets led 25-20 in first quarter before the Jazz went on the kind of burst they’ve seldom managed this season. Hood broke out of a recent shooting slump with 14 points in a Utah’s 25-4 run.
Hood, who had shot just 27 percent in his last five games, made a 3-pointer with 7:58 before halftime that gave the Jazz a 45-29 advantage.
Mitchell also bounced back from going 8 for 35 in his last two games to shoot 10 for 18 and come up big in the clutch.
The Nets lost three of five on their trip.
Nets: Trevor Booker returned after missing four games with a sore lower back and supplied his typical intensity, scoring 12 points and picking up a technical in the second quarter. ... Coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game, “We’ve won a couple of road games, and now the next step is, can we perform better on a back-to-back. We’ll see.” ... The Nets still haven’t won consecutive road games since the 2015-16 season.
Jazz: After Friday’s game, Gobert tweeted a video of the play, saying, “Dove for the ball right...” and also told reporters he thought Dion Waiters crashing into his knee was a dirty play. ... The Jazz haven’t topped the 50-percent mark for field goal percentage in a game since the opener against Denver but came close with 48.2 percent.
“Gritty effort, with Rudy out, in particular and on a back-to-back,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “We came out with a lot of chutzpah. It was good to see. The effort got rewarded with shots going in.”
With Jeremy Lin out for the season and Spencer Dinwiddie hampered with hamstring issues, an extended absence for Russell would be a big blow to the Nets. The team’s leading scorer at 20.9 points a game landed awkwardly on a drive to the hoop. He went to the sideline and paused there for a bit before slowly walking to the locker room. The Nets say Russell will be evaluated on Sunday.
Nets: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
Jazz: Host Minnesota on Monday night for their eighth home game in the last nine.