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The Roundup—Mitchell scores 37 as Jazz hold off Pelicans in SLC
For the second straight night, the Utah Jazz built a big lead only to hold on for a closer-than-expected victory, this time a 128-120 shootout over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.
Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 37 points for the Jazz, who have now won three games in the last four days.
"I'm proud of the way we played, but we keep letting teams back in the game," Mitchell said. "We've got to work on that."
Bojan Bogdanović added 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting, while Jeff Green (15 points) and Emmaunel Mudiay (10 points) gave the team a lift off the bench.
Utah (11-5) played without star center Rudy Gobert, who suffered an ankle injury during Friday night's win over Golden State. Third-year center Tony Bradley filled in for the Stifle Tower, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds and a block in his first career start.
"Tony played terrific. You never know when your time is going to come," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "It just shows you how players—or all of us—can't be despondent about certain things. You've just got to be ready. When you approach it that way and throw yourself into the group, when it does come you have the best chance of playing well. More than anything, Tony put himself in a good place mentally, and his play reflected that."
Brandon Ingram (33 points) and Jrue Holiday (28 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals) led the way for the Pelicans (6-10), who played without No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson (knee) and longtime Jazz big man Derrick Favors (back).
Veteran sharpshooter JJ Redick added 20 points in the loss.
"The way New Orleans plays puts a lot of pressure on you," Snyder said. "This was a great win. We built up a lead making shots and playing well. In the second half we were a little tired, but I still thought we played well. And New Orleans made a lot of shots and carved into our lead. Generally, I don't like losing leads. The other night, though, was very different from the situation tonight. I thought we made the plays at the end of game that we needed to."
Saturday's Best: Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell came out on fire, scoring 20 of his season-high 37 points in the first quarter. He scored from pretty much everywhere on the court, shooting 6-for-13 from three, throwing down a vicious one-handed alley-oop slam, and making a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Mitchell added seven rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes.
The Jazz had it going early on, making their first six shots—including two 3-pointers each by Mitchell and Bogdanović—en route to a quick 16-2 lead.
Utah led by 20 at halftime, but the Pelicans chipped that margin down to seven late in the final period. Mike Conley, though, found Green for an alley-oop layup and then shook off a cold-shooting night to drill a pull-up three that put Utah back up by 12 with just over two minutes left in the game. After two New Orleans threes—by Holiday and Ingram—Mitchell crossed over Holiday and hit a step-back jumper to keep it a two-possession game with under a minute left to play. Two free throws each by Bogdanović and Green then sealed the win for the Jazz.
M— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 24, 2019
Utah scored 74 points on 25-for-45 (55.6 percent) shooting in the first half. Mitchell and Bogdanović combined for 43 points in the first two quarters to help the Jazz build a 20-point lead. New Orleans shot only 35.3 percent in the first half.
Both teams were cooking from outside as they combined for 32 3-pointers Saturday night. Utah shot 15-for-36 (41.7 percent), while New Orleans shot 17-for-41 (41.5 percent). Mitchell (6-for-13), Bogdanović (3-for-7), Ingram (4-for-7), Redick (4-for-8), Holiday (3-for-9) and Lonzo Ball (3-for-7) each made at least three triples.
The Pelicans boast the NBA's fourth-fastest pace of play, but the Jazz finished with a 12-6 advantage in fast-break points.
Utah dished out 29 assists, with Royce O'Neale leading the way with six. Mitchell, Bogdanović and Conley added five assists each.
New Orleans had won four of its past five games. ... Mitchell picked up a technical foul after his alley-oop dunk for staring down Nicolo Melli. ... Both teams were highly efficient from the free throw line. Utah shot 29-for-33 (87.9 percent), while New Orleans shot 19-for-20 (95.0 percent). ... Ed Davis (leg) remained out for the Jazz. ... Utah held a 49-38 advantage in rebounds. ... Quin Snyder successfully challenged a call in the fourth quarter when Ingram kicked his leg out on a 3-point attempt and struck Joe Ingles, who was originally charged with a foul.
The Jazz will hit the road to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 6:00pm MT.