The Roundup—Jazz take down Suns for 11th straight win
Utah is officially heading into the All-Star break on an 11-game winning streak.
Wednesday night's 107-97 victory over Phoenix wasn't pretty—it was, in fact, really ugly at times—but the Jazz (30-28) made enough plays down the stretch to pull out a win even when it was obvious they didn't have much left in the tank.
"We've got a little bit of a break, and we'll come back stronger than ever and hopefully keep the streak going when we come back," Donovan Mitchell said after the game.
Mitchell scored 10 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, and he added four rebounds and seven assists in the win.
Derrick Favors (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Rudy Gobert (14 points, 17 rebounds) each double-doubled, while Royce O'Neale (19 points), Jae Crowder (15 points) and Joe Ingles (13 points) also scored in double figures.
Sharpshooter Devin Booker returned from a four-game absence to score a game-high 28 points for the Suns (18-41), while Elfrid Payton recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Rookie Josh Jackson, who came off the bench to score 22 points, gave the Jazz fits in the open court in the loss.
Starting in place of Ricky Rubio for the third straight game, O'Neale scored a career-high 19 points and added five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 36 minutes. The rookie shot an efficient 7-for-12 from the field (including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc) and 2-for-2 from the line. He's now averaging 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals over the past three games.
After a lackluster 20 minutes, the Jazz finally turned it on just before halftime, ending the the second quarter on a 14-5 run to take a nine-point lead into the break. Ingles hit a three and then O'Neale scored 11 straight Utah points—on a 3-pointer, an alley-oop dunk (off a pass from Mitchell), a driving layup, and a step-back jumper that just beat the second-quarter buzzer.
Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiiiidepic.twitter.com/1N76TFhzdy— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 15, 2018
Utah led for much of the game, but not comfortably. The Suns came back to take a series of one-point leads early in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz answered with an 8-0 run that gave them just enough of a buffer to hold off Phoenix down the stretch. Crowder made three free throws and converted a three-point play, and then Mitchell got into the lane for a bucket.
If you fall I will catch you, I'll be — time after timepic.twitter.com/CASu8u58hY— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 15, 2018
With just under a minute left and Phoenix still hanging around, Mitchell took the inbounds pass, turned in mid-air and drilled a dagger three that iced the win for the Jazz.
The Jazz owned the glass with 54 rebounds, including 14 offensive boards (six by Favors) that led to 15 second-chance points. Phoenix had 41 rebounds.
Utah drew 25 fouls and continued to shoot it well from the line, going 19-for-22 (86.4 percent) as a team.
Mitchell became the first rookie in NBA history to lead his team in scoring over an 11-game winning streak. The longest winning streak in franchise history is 15 games (done twice, in 1996 and 1997), while the last time the Jazz won 11 straight games was in 2009.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"There's two schools of thought about the All-Star break—let's get the rest and get recharged, or we've got a rhythm and don't want to lose it so let's keep playing. I'd like for us to do both."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Rubio (hip) missed his third straight game. ... The Jazz have a record of 18-9 at home this season. ... Crowder scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. ... The Suns have now lost seven straight games. ... Utah outscored Phoenix 52-40 in the paint. ... Alex Len finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and four blocks for the Suns. ... The Jazz are now 2-1 against the Suns this season. ... Mitchell will compete in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night and the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night during All-Star Weekend.
The Jazz will take a week off for the All-Star break before they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, February 23. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.