SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell appears to have turned the corner after scoring 38 points and leading the Utah Jazz to a win against the Houston Rockets last night.
Reigning MVP James Harden left the game in the 4th quarter with “tightness” in his left hamstring.
Heading into the game, Mitchell was shooting 34% from the field and 26% from the three, averaging 19 ppg. Against the Rockets, Mitchell was able to break through his offensive struggles shooting 56% from the field, 44% from the three, and went off by scoring 38 points.
Donovan Mitchell breaks through
A majority of Mitchell’s points came from below the rim, going 9-11 and 4-8 from the three, abusing the Chris Paul-less Rockets, who was suspended for 2 games following his fight with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo.
Mitchell’s 38 points also mark his third-highest scoring total in his young career up to this point, bringing the Utah Jazz to an overall record of 2-2.
An overall team effort
Rudy Gobert was able to add 12 points along with 13 rebounds while matched up with the Rockets’ big man, Clint Capela, which has traditionally been a difficult matchup for Gobert with Capela’s quickness and agility.
Joe Ingles was able to contribute 11 points on 50% shooting from the three, rebounding from a poor shooting game following the team’s loss against the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the week.
Ricky Rubio only recorded 4 points, 6 assists, and 2 rebounds on 33 minutes which further extends Rubio’s slump, after turning the ball over 6 times. Analysts speculate it’s only a matter of time until head coach Quin Snyder decides to give more minutes to Dante Exum as Mitchell begins to handle the ball often and efficiently.
It’s been noted countless times that the Jazz need more three-point shooters, but that’s more apparent now than ever as the Jazz have begun to rely on Mitchell’s ability to drive to the hole. It’s interesting to imagine what an offense would look like with a Klay Thompson or a JJ Redick in the corners in place of the defensive-minded Rubio.
As the team sits at the 7th best team in defensive efficiency and 21st in offensive efficiency, it’s not a stretch to say that the Jazz could use a bit more explosive offensive talent.
Utah reels after the loss of Lauren McCluskey
Many Utahns were mourning the loss of University of Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey after she was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, 37-year-old Melvin Rowland.
Mitchell was one of those who publicly spoke out regarding the tragedy.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 25, 2018
Following the game, Mitchell was interviewed by NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg and brought up the fact that Mitchell had written Lauren’s name on his sneakers.
“I heard the story, for those who don’t know, she was on the phone with her mom when she got shot,” Mitchell said. “I have a little sister. In today’s world, women have to be protected more.”
The Utah Jazz plays the New Orleans Pelicans on Sat. 10/27.
The Houston Rockets play the Los Angeles Clippers on Fri. 10/26.
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