Steve Babineau/NBAE

The Roundup—Mitchell, Jazz roll past Celtics

by matt payne

Now that's more like it.

After two straight losses—one blowout and one nail-biter—the Jazz had it going from start to finish in a 98-86 victory over the Celtics Saturday night in Boston.

"Man, we played well," Donovan Mitchell said after the game. "We did our thing and responded against a tough team on a back-to-back. I'm really proud of the way we played."

The Jazz (8-8) are now 2-0 against the Celtics this season.

Mitchell led all players with 28 points, while Ricky Rubio finished with 20 points and three steals.

Rudy Gobert (12 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block) and Derrick Favors (10 points, eight rebounds, one steal, one block) held their own down low.

Danté Exum, who played only three minutes during the teams' first meeting, chipped in 10 points (including a big 3-pointer late in the third quarter), seven rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.

Boston All-Star Kyrie Irving, who was limited to 30 minutes due to foul trouble, led the Celtics (9-7) with 20 points.

Former Jazz forward Gordon Hayward finished with seven points in 26 minutes.

Saturday's Best

After scoring 31 points on 35 shots (with zero assists) on Friday night, Mitchell promised to stay aggressive but play smarter—and he delivered in a big way against the Celtics. Utah's second-year standout finished with 28 points on an efficient 10-for-21 shooting, and he added three rebounds, six assists (including a sweet alley-oop to Favors on the first possession of the fourth quarter), three steals and a block in 36 minutes.

Key Stretches

After falling behind 7-2, the Jazz got rolling with a 17-7 run. Everyone got involved as Crowder hit a 3-pointer, Gobert threw down an alley-oop dunk, Mitchell and Joe Ingles put in close-range buckets, and Rubio and Exum finished off the run with layups. Utah closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run (thanks to back-to-back threes by Mitchell and Royce O'Neale) to take a 29-20 lead after 12 minutes.

Utah led by five at halftime and then took total control in the third quarter. Gobert and Favors threw down two-handed slams, Rubio put in a layup, and Mitchell buried two straight 3-pointers to put the Jazz up by 12 just five minutes into the third period. Utah outscored Boston 27-17 in the third quarter.

Three alley-oop slams by Favors put the Jazz up by 19 within the first three minutes of the fourth period, with the last one coming after Mitchell blocked a transition dunk attempt by Hayward. Boston, though, scored six straight points to force a Jazz timeout. Rubio responded by knocking down three free throws (after drawing a foul outside the arc) and a three, while Mitchell put in two straight buckets—a swooping lefty layup and a three from straight on—to put Utah by 22. The Jazz cruised from there.

Significant Stats

6+

The Jazz are now 16-5 over the past two seasons when Mitchell dishes out at least six assists.

63.0

The free-throw struggle continued for the Jazz, who shot only 17-for-27 (63.0 percent) from the charity stripe. And it could have been worse—Utah was 4-for-11 in the first half before shooting 13-for-16 (81.2 percent) in the second half. (Note: The Celtics were also awful, shooting 11-for-20 from the line.)

15.2

Boston struggled mightily from long distance, shooting only 5-for-33 (15.2 percent) as a team. The Jazz, meanwhile, shot 11-for-38 from deep. Mitchell (5-for-12) and Rubio (2-for-4) led the way.

Coach's Quote of the Night

"For us to come out as focused as we did shows a lot of character from our group—against a very good team in a difficult environment to play in. I think we should be pleased with the effort."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Notable

The Jazz are now 6-4 on the road. ... Utah did not scored after the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter. ... Ingles and Boston's Marcus Smart picked up double technical fouls just before halftime. ... Boston grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and outscored Utah 17-7 on second-chance points. ... Ingles tied Mitchell for the team lead with six assists.

Up Next

The Jazz will finish off their five-game road trip Monday night against the Indiana Pacers. Tipoff is set for 5:00pm MT.

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