UTAH JAZZ

Mitchell Becomes 4th With At Least 30 Pts, 10 Boards In Season Opener

Oct 24, 2019, 1:50 PM | Updated: 4:51 pm
Donovan Mitchell...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) yells to to the bench after a made shot as the Jazz open the 2019-20 season against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Utah won 100-95. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Donovan Mitchell added his name to franchise history when he became just the fourth player to score at least 30 points and pull in 10 rebounds in a season opener, and only the second in 28 years.

He had 32 points with 12 boards in the Jazz Game 1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Adrian Dantley and Carlos Boozer did it one time each. Karl Malone did it four times.

The feat hadn’t been accomplished since Boozer did it at the start of the 2007-08 season, in a 117-96 win at Golden State. He had 32 points and 15 rebounds.

Utah went on to a 54-28 record that year, making it to the second round of the NBA Playoffs before getting knocked out by the Lakers in six games.

Mitchell also had 3 assists and a steal, which came at the end of the game to seal the 100-95 victory. He shot an outstanding 63.6 percent from the field, including one three pointer in three attempts.

The Jazz star’s biggest impact came during the fourth quarter, where he had 14 points and 7 rebounds. The lift was needed at a time when guard Mike Conley was sidelined with fouls and a 1-for-16 shooting slump.

NBA legend Karl Malone met the same milestone in four consecutive season openers over his career, from the 1988-89 to 1991-92 seasons.

1991-92: The Mailman had 35 points and 13 rebounds in the 1991-92 season opener. Two other players had over 20 points in that game, with Jeff Malone scoring 25 and fellow legend John Stockton scoring 21.

Stockton also had a double-double with 12 assists.The three players combined for 8 steals during the game, as well – Stockton with 4, Karl Malone with 3 and Jeff Malone with 1. Center Mark Eaton had 6 blocks.

1990-91: The year before, Malone had 33 points and 10 rebounds in the 1990-91 season opener against the Phoenix Suns in Tokyo, Japan. Stockton had another double-double with 12 assists and 16 points. Jeff Malone and Thurl “Big T” Bailey both scored in double digits. Utah lost 119 to 96.

Kevin Johnson scored 29 points with 10 rebounds for the Suns, and Ogden, Utah native Tom Chambers – who later played two seasons with the Jazz – scored 38 with 10 rebounds. Dan Marjerie added 16 points for the Suns.

1989-90: In the 1989-90 season, Malone had 40 points and 16 rebounds in his most dominant opener. The Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 122-113. Stockton also had a big game, scoring 23 points with a whopping 19 assists and 3 steals.Thurl Bailey added 23 points, and Mark Eaton swatted away 4 blocks.

As a team, the Jazz were dominant on defense, with a total of 13 blocks. (Malone 2, Bailey 2, Blue Edwards 2, Mike Brown 2, Darrell Griffith 1.) As a team, the Jazz shot 62.2 percent from the field.

1988-89: Malone had 36 points and 10 rebounds to open the 1988-89 season in a 104-97 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. Stockton has 13 points and 14 assists Thurl Bailey added 26 points, and Darrell Griffith had 15. Dale Ellis from Seattle scored 46 points.

The first time a Jazz player had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener was Adrian Dantley in 1982-83. He had 35 points and 12 rebounds. Rickey Green contributed a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists. Darrell Griffith had 23 points.

Good Omen? 

Several fans noted the significance to the franchise of Mitchell’s Game 1 numbers. Karl Malone wore number 32. John Stockton wore number 12.

It was also an unintentional nod to the announcement by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver earlier in the day that Salt Lake City has been awarded the 2023 All-Star Game. The first All-Star Game played in Utah was 30 years earlier, and both Malone and Stockton earned Co-MVP honors.

Mitchell was one of 11 players across the league to score more than 30 points in the first game of the season. Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving topped that list with a 50-point performance in a 127-126 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Spida” was also one of 14 players – and the only guard – with over 12 rebounds. Fellow Jazzman Rody Gobert was also on that list with 14 boards.

Up Next:

Mitchell and the Jazz go on the road for the second game of the season Friday, visiting the 0-1 Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 8:30 p.m.

Los Angeles will be looking for their first win of the season in front of their home crowd at the Staples Center. The Lakers opened their season in the same facility as the “visitor” to the LA Clippers, who won 112-102.

Utah hasn’t opened a season with two straight wins since the 2008-09 season, when they opened with five wins.

 

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