Donovan Mitchell Plays Hero As Jazz Sweep Celtics

Mar 16, 2021, 9:31 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) yells to his teammates during an NBA game against the Phoenix...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) yells to his teammates during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. ( Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
( Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 117-109 to stem their recent stretch of rough play, and sweep their season series against the storied franchise.

Donovan Mithcell led the Jazz with 21 points, including eight points in the final 3:49 of the game to earn the victory. Rudy Gobert turned in another dominant performance scoring 16 points, corralling 12 rebounds, and blocking four shots to seal the win.

The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum who had 29 points to lead all scorers but missed their chance to climb into the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff standings with the loss.

Gobert Dominates The Fourth Quarter

After Gobert’s incredible 24 point, 28 rebound performance in Sunday’s loss, he turned into another magnificent outing in Boston, albeit with a less impressive stat line.

The All-Star center helped turn a two point deficit entering the fourth quarter into a nine point lead when he subbed out with 7:37 remaining in the game.

After Boston cut the Jazz lead to just one with 5:02 remaining in the game, Gobert subbed back in and rebuilt the lead to as much as 10 before closing the game with an eight point victory.

In Gobert’s 9:25 minutes of fourth quarter action, he scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds, blocked two shots, and the Jazz were 16 points better than the Celtics while he was on the floor.

Over his last five games, Gobert is averaging four blocks per game, his second-best stretch of the season as perimeter scorers continue to try to challenge him at the rim.

“Some games I get seven blocks, six blocks, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily played better defense,” Gobert said. “Some games I get zero blocks and I play great defense because guys are not even getting shots up around me.”

For the season, Gobert leads all NBA players in plus-minus, as the Jazz have outscored their opponents by 367 points with the All-NBA center on the floor.

Donovan Mitchell On Hero Ball

Some fans across Jazz nation accused Mitchell of playing hero ball in close losses this season, including the team’s game Sunday against the Warriors.

Mitchell scored just six points on 2-6 shooting and was -11 in the final period of the Jazz 12 point loss.

Against Boston, Mitchell again started the fourth quarter slowly before finishing with a burst that helped carry the Jazz to victory.

During his first 3:50 on the floor in the final quarter, Mitchell went scoreless on 0-3 shooting with one turnover and one assist.

Over the final 3:49 of the quarter, Mitchell led all scorers with eight points on 2-2 shooting, both from the three-point line, two free-throws, one assist, one rebound, and zero turnovers.

“Whether it’s labeled hero ball, I really don’t care,” Mitchell said after the game. “I think my teammates, my coaches want me to have the ball at the end of the game and that’s all that matters. I know what I can do late in the game.”

The Jazz were seven points better than the Celtics after Mitchell connect on his first three-point shot, and the guard finished +1 for the night.

Snyder Gets Bogdanovic Going

Bojan Bogdanovic had struggled mightily since returning from the All-Star break scoring 12 points per game over the first two games after the hiatus on 26 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent from the three-point line.

Even worse, the forward had been turnover-prone committing four costly giveaways in the loss to the Warriors.

Bogdanovic appeared to be on the same path early in the matchup against Boston going scoreless on 0-1 shooting in the first quarter while committing three turnovers in five and a half minutes.

After his slow start, Snyder changed how he was using Bogdanovic, pushing the forward into post-up situations, and got immediate results.

Over Bogdanovic’s final three quarters on the floor, the forward scored 12 points on 3-8 shooting, grabbed six rebounds, and handed out two assists. The forward was back in the closing lineup for the team after being benched to finish the loss to Golden State.

“In addition to scoring the ball and getting fouled, he made a couple of great passes out of the post as well,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We need Bojan to be effective. He was great tonight, I just want him to play, don’t think, just play and be aggressive and that’s what he did.”

The Jazz now travel to Washington to make up their postponed game against the Wizards on Thursday with a chance to build on their win over the Celtics.

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