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The Roundup—Mitchell, Gobert help Jazz past Suns

by Matt Payne

The Jazz escaped the snow in Utah—for one day at least—with a trip to the desert, where they secured a much-needed 114-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

Utah (38-29) had lost three of four and now sits in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.

"We really wanted to come in and get a win," Utah center Rudy Gobert said after the game. "We knew we had to play good defense, and we did."

Gobert (18 points, 20 rebounds) logged his 53rd double-double of the season, which put him two behind Detroit's Andre Drummond for the league lead, while Donovan Mitchell led the way with 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting.

Derrick Favors (18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists), Joe Ingles (15 points, six assists) and Jae Crowder (12 points) also scored in double figures in the win.

Ricky Rubio (hip) and Raul Neto (hamstring) both took the court after missing Utah's past few games. Rubio had six points and four assists in 22 minutes, while Neto didn't score but had five assists, a steal and a +9 rating in 11 minutes off the bench.

Devin Booker scored a team-high 27 points for the Suns (16-53), who had won four of their past five games—including victories over the Warriors and Bucks. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 18 points, and Tyler Johnson added 15 points in the loss.

Wednesday's Best

Mitchell went toe to toe with Booker in a battle of 22-year-old rising stars, and Utah's sophomore came out on top. Mitchell scored 16 of his team-high 26 points in the second half, and he added five rebounds, two assists and a steal in 34 minutes. He also finished with a game-high rating of +21. Mitchell has now scored at least 25 points 27 times this season.

Key Stretches

The Jazz trailed by two after one quarter, but a 13-2 run midway through the second period put them ahead. Favors put in a floater, and Royce O'Neale slammed home a transition dunk—both off of assists from Neto. After a Phoenix timeout, Thabo Sefolosha made a 3-pointer, Mitchell put in a bucket, and Crowder converted a three-point play. The Jazz would keep that momentum going and take a 10-point lead into halftime.

Utah went up by 14 with two straight layups—by Ingles and Mitchell—to start the second half, but the Suns responded with a quick 12-2 run. Oubre threw down a reverse dunk and hit a jumper, while Johnson canned two straight threes to pull Phoenix back within four.

The teams went back and forth for the rest of the quarter, with Mitchell scoring five quick points, Gobert throwing down a driving dunk and Kyle Korver hiting a three to put Utah up by eight. The Suns, though, fought back to tie the game.

At that point, Ingles, who'd been having a quiet night, took over. He hit a contested corner three to end the third quarter and then found Favors for an alley-oop dunk to put Utah up by five early in the fourth. He found Crowder for a jumper and then buried another three of his own to put Utah back up by eight less than two minutes into the final period.

The Jazz led the rest of the way, pushing the margin to as many as 21 before nailing down a 17-point victory.

Significant Stats

+17

The Suns were no match for Gobert and Favors, who helped the Jazz to a 52-35 rebounding advantage. Utah only allowed five offensive rebounds and, as a result, outscored Phoenix 12-2 in second-chance points.

71.4

The Jazz entered the night ranked No. 4 in NBA with an assist percentage of .638, and they proceeded to log an assist on 18 of their 20 first-half baskets. By the time the final horn sounded, they had assisted on 30 of their 42 buckets (71.4 percent).

+26

The Jazz won the game in the second and fourth quarters, where they held a 64-38 advantage. Utah shot 58.5 percent from the field over thoser 24 minutes.

Coach's Quote of the Night

"I thought we attacked with efficiency and were able to hit some shots. The defense, for us, is where the emphasis is, and we saw more urgency and focus on that end tonight."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Notable

Favors' seven assists tied his career high. ... The Jazz are now 8-4 on the first half of back-to-back sets this year. ... Utah shot 12-for-33 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range. Phoenix shot 7-for-19 (36.8 percent). ... Both teams made 18 free throws. ... Each team committed 12 turnovers, though the Jazz scored 19 points as a result while the Suns only managed 11.

Up Next

The Jazz will return home for the second half of their back-to-back set on Thursday night against the Timberwolves. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.