Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz Comeback In Fourth Quarter To Beat Pelicans For Restart Victory
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Donovan Mitchell scored eight of Utah’s final 10 points to help the Jazz come back and beat the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA’s first game of the 2019-20 season restart.
Mitchell and the Jazz played the Pelicans on Thursday, July 30, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
The Jazz vs. Pelicans game was the first NBA contest in four and a half months after the league halted play in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Jazz guard scored eight of his 20 points during the final 12 minutes of action to help Utah bounced back from a double-digit deficit earlier in the game.
“We’ve been through tough stretches throughout the year. This was just trying to find our groove,” Mitchell said after the win. “We had it at the start of the game and after that it kind of went down downhill. They started to kind of dictate us, our game on both ends of the court. We started to just compete. You know, it’s not always gonna go your way every night. As long as you keep fighting you’ll find a way to get back.”
Mitchell helped the Jazz take their first lead of the game since 23-21 with a bank shot late in the fourth quarter. The bucket gave Utah a 98-97 with four minutes remaining.
He ended the game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and a block in 36 minutes. Mitchell shot 6-14 from the field and 2-4 from three.
In addition to playing better offense than they played in the first three quarters, the Jazz picked up their game on the defensive end as well. Utah outscored New Orleans 27-17 during the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t change any coverages. We just started getting more disciplined,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said postgame when asked about the differences between the first and second half. “I thought there was a stretch where we were just doing a lot of reaching and we were off balance and they were getting to the rim. I think they had half their points in the first half in the paint. So I just think we got more solid. As the game progressed, we kind of set a goal in the fourth quarter to have our best defensive quarter and I think as the game went on we did become more solid.”
The Jazz entered the final quarter down 87-79 after being down 60-48 at halftime.
Utah finished the game shooting 44 percent overall and 23.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Each of the Jazz starters scored double figures and sixth man Jordan Clarkson added a team-high 23 points off the bench.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert opened the game with the first field goal of the restart and closed the contest with two free throws to give Utah the two-point victory.
He finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 34 minutes.
Jazz guard Mike Conley added 20 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, and a steal while forwards Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale combined for 25 points.
The Pelicans were led by Brandon Ingram’s 23 points. Jrue Holiday added 20 points and JJ Redick came off the bench to pour in 21 points.
New Orleans’ Zion Williamson scored 13 points on 6-8 field goals in 15 minutes on the court.
Before the start of the game, players from both teams stepped on the court wearing shirts that featured the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
During the national anthem in pregame, players and coaches from the Jazz and Pelicans, as well as NBA referees, kneeled on the court next to a “Black Lives Matter” floor decal.
With the win, Utah improved to 42-23 on the season. It was the team’s first win since March 7.
Next up for the Jazz is a meeting against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz are currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings while the Thunder are in fifth place.
Utah will play OKC on Saturday, August 1 at 1:30 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on ESPN, AT&T SportsNet, and 97.5 FM.