Donovan Mitchell came close to racking up the first regular season triple-double by a Utah Jazz player in more than a decade on Sunday, but you won’t hear him lament just missing the rare statistical achievement.
Even when encouraged by teammates to go for it late in the Jazz’s 103-95 win at Indiana, the All-Star wasn’t concerned about getting Utah’s first triple-double since Carlos Boozer totaled 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on Feb. 13, 2008, in Seattle.
All Mitchell needed was one rebound. He ended with 27 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a terrific performance that was welcome in the absence of injured point guard Mike Conley.
“I’m not the type of person to go and chase it,” Mitchell said. “I’m just trying to find ways to impact the game.”
That impact helped the Jazz win their fourth straight and claim a 15th victory in 16 outings heading into Tuesday night’s matchup against the Boston Celtics in Salt Lake City.
Thanks to Mitchell, fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert, Conley, Sixth-Man-of-the-Year candidate Jordan Clarkson and a handful of other key contributors, the deep Jazz have stormed out to the best record in the league so far at 19-5. They’re shooting lights out from 3-point range, outrebounding teams at an impressive rate and playing tough defense.
Sunday’s win finished off a three-victories-in-four-days Eastern Conference road trip for Utah, which now gets four straight games at home.
The Phoenix Suns made the Celtics pay for subpar shooting Sunday. Boston stayed close but lost 100-91 in part because of a 35.5 percent shooting performance. They were missing Jaylen Brown (knee) and Marcus Smart (calf) due to injuries.
“Tonight wasn’t our night shooting the ball,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after Boston lost for the second time in three games. “I told the team just now that I am more encouraged than discouraged because you are going to have days like this. That could have been easily worse the way we shot the ball.”
This will be the final game of a five-city Western Conference swing for Boston. The road trip began Tuesday, Feb. 2, and has included wins at Golden State (111-107) and against the Los Angeles Clippers (119-115) and losses to the Sacramento Kings (116-111) and Suns.
Tuesday’s contest will be the ninth road outing in 11 games for Boston. Jayson Tatum has played well, leading Boston in scoring in six straight games.
But while speaking of teammate Kemba Walker after the point guard’s 4-for-20 shooting display Sunday, Daniel Theis said he believes the team needs to work on getting a better shot selection overall.
“We’ve got to make it easier for guys and Kemba to get some easy ones instead of relying on jump shots,” he said.
That will be important for the Celtics against Utah, whose defensive success centers around an excellent rim-protector in Gobert, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
–Field Level Media