Mitchell scores 34 in Utah’s 120-105 win over Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had another big game and added to his growing list of spectacular dunks with a one-handed jam in the third quarter. Still, coach Quin Snyder had a little critique for the rookie.
Mitchell’s defense could still use some work, says Snyder. Not that it mattered much for Utah on Wednesday night, when Mitchell scored 23 of his 34 points in the second half to lift the Jazz over the Sacramento Kings 120-105.
“He played very well tonight,” Snyder said. “There were a number of things on the defensive end that he’s going to hear about. He’s gotta keep getting better in every aspect of the game. That’s what he wants to do.”
Rodney Hood had 25 points and eight rebounds, Joe Ingles added 14 points and Derrick Favors had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Utah won for only the fifth time in 20 games.
Ingles made three 3-pointers in the third quarter when Utah scored 36 points to break open a tight game. He later added an assist with a blind backward pass over his shoulder that led to Jonas Jerebko’s dunk.
Mitchell, who set a franchise rookie record with 41 points against New Orleans on Dec. 1, provided the game’s signature moment 30 seconds later.
Utah’s outstanding rookie split a pair of defenders at the arc, then drove in for a dazzling, uncontested dunk. Mitchell scored the next six points for Utah, and Hood added six straight to make it 85-67.
“He’s ultra-athletic,” Hood said of Mitchell. “When he gets in the lane, we want him finishing like that. Before long, people will start giving him respect and they’ll spread when he goes to the lane. We need him to keep doing that.”
Mitchell said the dunk had extra meaning for him.
“I fed off of this one just because somebody in the crowd was talking and I heard them the entire time,” Mitchell said. “Usually I don’t let that get to me, but when you’re up by that and we’re all playing well it’s easy to think about other things.”
Mitchell, the 13th overall pick by Denver before being traded to Utah, finished 14 of 19 from the floor with three assists. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter for the Jazz, who have won four straight in Sacramento.
“What a stud,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “He’s playing in an open system with a stretch four so he’s got some space to attack. He gets to any spot he wants on the floor.”
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 25 points and Willie Cauley-Stein had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings.
George Hill added 20 points and Zach Randolph had 12 for Sacramento. The Kings have lost six straight and 10 of 13.
The Jazz trailed by 10 early in the first quarter but closed the period on a 15-3 run and went up 23-21 on Hood’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Ingles beat the shot clock buzzer with a 23-foot jumper midway through the second and added a 3-pointer that extended Utah’s lead to 44-35.
Hood’s third 3 put the Jazz up by 10 at halftime.
DUNK CONTEST FOR DONOVAN
Mitchell is getting a lot of push to be in this year’s dunk contest during the All-Star break, but the rookie isn’t sure if he’ll be part of the festivities in Los Angeles.
“I’d love to do that, but there are a lot of guys in the league who have bounce, who have dunk-contest bounce as opposed to game bounce,” Mitchell said. “People don’t understand, they’re two different things. You could do tricks in the dunk contest that you can’t do in the game. I would enjoy it.”
Jazz: Mitchell has scored 30 or more in five games this season. ... Favors had 10 of Utah’s 17 rebounds in the first half, including all five offensive rebounds. ... Thabo Sefolosha sat out his second consecutive game with a sprained right knee.
Kings: De’Aaron Fox fouled out late in the fourth quarter. He had six points and four assists. ... Vince Coleman and Garrett Temple were both held out as part of coach Dave Joerger’s new plan to rest two veterans each game. Sacramento also played without Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain).
Jazz: Host the New York Knicks on Friday.
Kings: Play at Memphis on Friday.
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