Utah Jazz rally past the Pacers but lose Donovan Mitchell to an injury

The Utah Jazz proved how quickly they can rally.

Now they must wait to see long it will take for Donovan Mitchell’s right ankle.

The Jazz turned a 17-point first-half deficit into a 119-111 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday behind tremendous defensive performance from All-Star center Rudy Gobert.

“Our mindset changed,” Gobert said. “We were way too passive. They could drive and go where they wanted to go. They just played harder than us in the first half. Once we picked that up, everything was better in the second half and it changed the momentum of the game.”

But the league-leaders (42-14) are now hoping their leading scorer won’t be lost for too long.

Mitchell suffered a right ankle sprain during the third quarter. Mitchell jumped in an effort to alter an outlet pass and appeared to turn his right ankle as he attempted to avoid the leg of Indiana guard Edmond Sumner. The All-Star guard grabbed his ankle, grimaced in pain and quickly raised his hand for assistance. The crowd at Vivint Arena was nearly silent as Mitchell was helped off the court, his weight supported by a team trainer and his teammate Royce O’Neale, and then Jazz wings Miye Oni and Elijah Hughes.

“The second half, defensively we were pretty good,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “That was good to see.”

Mitchell spoke with his teammates after the game and was in “great spirits,” Gobert said. “So hopefully we have him back soon.” The guard was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday to better assess the injury.

Mitchell has been the Jazz’s leading scorer this season, averaging a career-best 26.5 points per game. He had scored 22 points when he left the game with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter.

“Donovan is such a big part of what we do,” Snyder said. “Like any player that’s out, you miss him but you try to figure out ways to play well and win regardless of who’s available. Those things are going to happen and we have to be prepared for that. That’s where guys have to come together and try to figure it out.”

The Jazz trailed 74-65 when Mitchell left the game.

“It’s something you never want to see, especially when it’s one of your teammates and your leaders,” Gobert said. “When something like that happens, you always pause a little bit and then you have to refocus on the game.”

Gobert and the Jazz refocused and really turned up the intensity. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year violently swatting Domantas Sabonis’ shot at the rim, leading to an Ingles 3 on the other. The Jazz would then close the quarter on an 8-0 run, with Jordan Clarkson hitting a mid-range jumper as time expired in the third, to even the score at 89-89.

Georges Niang’s 3-pointer early in the fourth gave the Jazz their first lead since they led 10-8 midway through the first period.

Bojan Bogdanovic finished with a game-high 24 points. Gobert had 13 points, 23 rebounds and four blocks. Jordan Clarkson scored 18. Joe Ingles finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists.

“Everyone stepped up,” Gobert said.

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