Mitchell scores 29, Jazz top Pelicans 115-104
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added 21, and Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-104 on Monday night to extend their road winning streak to nine games.
Bogdanovic hit two of his five 3s in the final 2:31, the first pushing Utah’s lead to eight points and the second widening the advantage to 11 with 1:22 to go.
Utah, which came in averaging an NBA-best 15 3-pointers per game, made 19 of 39 (48.7%) from deep, with Mitchell hitting five and Conley four.
“Just let it fly, not overthinking it. Just catch and shoot, letting it go. We got some good looks, too,” Mitchell said. “That’s who we are.”
Rudy Gobert had 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Jazz, who led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter. New Orleans briefly got as close as five points before Bogdanovic’s wide-open 3 from the right corner helped Utah pull away again for its seventh victory in eight games.
“We had a lot of great corner 3s, corner looks,” Bogdanovic said, crediting Mitchell for the way he reacted to double-teams to create open shots for teammates. “We are just moving the ball and we are playing the right way.”
Mitchell also didn’t shy away from taking big shots, such as a step-back, 27-foot 3 while being guarded closely by Josh Hart as the shot clock wound down with 4:31 to go.
“It’s kind of demoralizing in a way, being able to hit a shot late clock like that,” Mitchell said. “That’s a big shot and I think you may consider it a tough shot. But for me, it’s normal because I worked at it. ... When you continually put the work in, you trust it and you let it fly.”
Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and nine assists, and Josh Hart added 15 points and nine assists for New Orleans, which dropped its second straight and lost for the third time in four games. Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 13 points in a reserve role.
But the Pelicans barely made 40% of their shots (39 of 97), something coach Willie Green attributed to a combination of injuries and recent positive COVID-19 tests, including for Valanciunas and Alexander-Walker, limiting practice time while causing lineup instability.
“We’re still shuffling lineups right now with guys being out, but I thought, for the most part, we competed,” Green said. “We played hard. We came up short because we’re rusty and we’ve got to make shots against this team.”
Brandon Ingram, averaging a Pelicans-high 22.9 points per game, missed 15 of 18 shots and finished with 10 points in his return from a two-game absence caused by a sore left Achilles tendon.
“We’re not worried about it and he’s a heck of a player,” Hart said. “So, I know tomorrow he’s going to be better, and the next game’s going to be better and so on and so on.”
The Pelicans were unable to match Utah’s perimeter shooting, going 12 of 46 (26.1%) from 3-point range.
Neither team led by more than six points during a difficult first half for both offenses, with Utah shooting 40.9% and New Orleans 38.6%.
Conley scored 12 of his points and Mitchell had 10 in the opening 24 minutes, after which the Jazz led 52-49.
Utah widened its lead to 12 in the third quarter, when Bogdanovic hit five of eight shots, including two 3s.
Jazz: Gobert’s double-double was his NBA-leading 31st this season. Gobert also had two blocks and two steals. ... Jordan Clarkson scored 14 points in a reserve role. ... Utah won despite not scoring any fast-break points, scoring nine second-chance points to the Pelicans’ 29, being outscored 50-38 in the paint, being outrebounded 47-43 and committing 15 turnovers to New Orleans’ 10.
Pelicans: Missed eight of 22 free throws. ... Hart missed three of four free throws, making him four of his last 13 from the foul line. ... Green received a technical foul in the fourth quarter after officials declined to call a foul on Gobert when the Utah center appeared to disrupt Ingram’s layup attempt by grabbing the arm of the Pelicans forward. “I just felt like Brandon got fouled. It happened a number of times and I voiced my frustration about it,” Green said. “We deserve those calls when we attack the basket. ... I’m going to take up for our team when I think things aren’t fair.”
Jazz: Visit Denver on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Play their second home game in two nights when they host Phoenix on Tuesday.
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