SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Even without Rudy Gobert, the usually defensive-minded Utah Jazz blitzed the New Orleans Pelicans with some high-octane offense.
Mitchell made six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 37 points as Utah outlasted the Pelicans 128-120 on Saturday night.
Mitchell sparked the Jazz to a quick start after they held off the depleted Golden State Warriors the night before.
“We needed to come out with a hot start, as you get a little fatigued in the second half of a back-to-back,” said Mitchell, who had 14 points in the first five minutes as Utah (11-5) jumped out to a 28-9 lead.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 28 points to help the Jazz overcome the absence of Gobert, who was a late scratch with a sprained ankle.
“This was our best game offensively. Every player was playing with high confidence. We started the game so well,” Bogdanovic said.
Mitchell knew the Jazz needed to score as much as they could while they had their legs.
“They shot the ball well. We weren’t into them at all, they didn’t feel us defensively,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry lamented.
Though the Jazz led the entire way, they had to quell a late comeback from the Pelicans, who had won three in a row and scored 66 points in the second half.
Brandon Ingram had 33 points and Jrue Holiday scored 12 of his 28 in the fourth quarter. JJ Redick added 20 points for New Orleans (6-10).
“The second half, we picked up the energy, got into the ball and made it hard for them to either get to the basket or pass off for 3s. We did what we were supposed to do, what we wanted to do from the beginning of the game,” Holiday said.
Mike Conley, who has been decidedly inconsistent during his first season in Utah, threw an alley-oop to Jeff Green and then hit a 3-pointer to boost Utah to a 122-110 lead with 2:15 left.
Conley was 1 for 8 to that point but looked off Mitchell and calmly hit the shot.
“They were big plays and I needed to get my legs under me after chasing JJ Redick around. But the fourth quarter is winning time and both those plays were big for us and came comfortable for me,” Conley said.
The Pelicans made one more run as Ingram hit a 3 with 37.9 seconds remaining to make it 124-120. But then Bogdanovic and Green each made two free throws to clinch it.
Green had 15 points and Tony Bradley added 14 points and nine rebounds as they shared the center position in Gobert’s absence.
Lonzo Ball hit a 3 to cap a 15-5 run and bring the Pelicans to 86-78 with 4:36 left in the third quarter. The Jazz then built back a double-digit lead a couple of times until Ingram made a 3-pointer with 4:16 remaining to cut Utah’s advantage to 113-106.
Ball was on a minutes restriction in his second game back from a groin injury but had 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting in 25 minutes.
Gobert played most of Friday’s win over Golden State after he turned his ankle in the first quarter. He had seven blocks in that game but sat out against the Pelicans after pregame warmups determined he was too sore.
Bolstered by two quick 3s by Bogdanovic and Mitchell, the Jazz scored the first 14 points of the game.
“It wasn’t anything premediatated, it was just me starting to feel it and then to just keep going,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell had 23 points and Bogdanovic poured in 20 in the first half as the Jazz led 74-54 at the break. Utah posted season bests for points in a half and a game.
BRADLEY COMES UP BIG
Bradley’s 14 points and nine rebounds were both just one off his career highs and his teammates relished his time in the spotlight. Gobert joined reporters in asking him questions in the locker room, and others shouted his praises as he was interviewed.
“All I was thinking was to play hard, rebound and defend as best I can,” Bradley said.
His hustle turned into opportunities as he ran the floor and found himself with the ball at the rim on multiple plays. He even made a Gobert-esque block that brought a loud ovation in the fourth quarter.
Before the game, Green told the young center to play hard and not overthink it or replay mistakes.
“He did that, and much more,” Green said.
Pelicans: Derrick Favors, who played in Utah for eight seasons, didn’t make the trip because of back spasms. … The Pelicans made all 17 of their free throws until Redick missed one with 1:59 to play. They finished 19 for 20. … For the first time this season, Redick was the team’s leading rebounder with seven.
Jazz: Mitchell got a technical for staring down Nicolo Melli after dunking over him in the second quarter. … A coach’s challenge was successful in the fourth quarter when Ingram kicked out his leg on a 3-pointer and struck Joe Ingles, who originally was whistled for a foul. … The Jazz shot 51% from the field and 42% from 3-point range while outrebounding the Pelicans 49-38.
Pelicans: Play the second half a back-to-back Sunday night at the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jazz: Begin a five-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
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