What a night!
Known for their lockdown defense (of which there was still plenty) the Utah Jazz got into a late-game shootout with the Portland Trail Blazers—one of the NBA’s most dangerous offensive teams—and came away with a thrilling 112-103 overtime victory.
Ricky Rubio led the Jazz with 30 points (a new season high), while rookie Donovan Mitchell came off the bench to score a career-high 28 points in 35 minutes. Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 10 rebounds (and three blocks) in the win.
The Jazz (5-3) remained undefeated at home and have now won three straight games.
Damian Lillard scored a game-high 33 points and just missed a triple-double with 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Blazers (4-4). Jusuf Nurkic (19 points, 11 rebounds) and CJ McCollum (16 points, 10 rebounds) also double-doubled in the loss.
Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko played vital roles for the Jazz off the bench. Sefolosha finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and a team-best rating of +24 in 28 minutes, and—maybe most importantly—he took over as the primary defender on Lillard late in the game. Jerebko, who had played a grand total of four minutes so far this season, had eight points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes. He drilled his first field goal attempt of the year (a 3-pointer from the wing) and contributed to the scrappy, in-your-face style this Jazz team is quickly becoming known for.
Portland’s duo of Lillard and McCollum has long been recognized as one of the NBA’s top backcourts, but tonight they simply couldn’t keep up with Rubio and Mitchell, who combined for 58 points. The high point total was nice, but it was the timing of those points that really made the difference. With the game on the line, Rubio scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and 11 of Utah’s 18 points in overtime, while Mitchell had seven points in the fourth quarter and five in overtime. When the Jazz needed someone to step up and make plays, both Rubio and Mitchell answered the call.
The game was choppy, low-scoring and tight throughout, but Portland started to get going and built a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Mitchell and Rubio, though, sank back-to-back 3-pointers to quickly erase the deficit, and Jerebko added another three a minute later to set up a thrilling finish.
Neither team was able to get any separation as Lillard almost single-handedly kept the Blazers in the game with 13 fourth-quarter points. Back-to-back threes by Lillard and McCollum pushed Portland’s lead to six with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter. The Jazz, though, responded with a three by Rubio, a block by Gobert, another three by Sefolosha, and a two-handed putback dunk by Gobert that tied the game with 29.0 seconds remaining. Lillard missed a long 3-point attempt, but a travel by Rubio immediately gave the ball back to Portland with under 10 seconds left. Lillard—one of the NBA’s most celebrated closers—had a chance to be the hero as he dribbled into the lane and put up a floater as the clock ticked down, but Gobert came swooping in to block the shot and force overtime.
It was all Jazz in overtime, with Mitchell canning a three to start things off and then Rubio icing the game with a 3-pointer of his own in the closing seconds. The Jazz shot 10-for-12 from the free-throw line during the extra period to wrap up their fifth win of the season.
Neither team cracked 40 percent from the field, but Utah got to the free-throw line often and shot an efficient 86.1 percent (31-for-36). Rubio (11-for-11) and Mitchell (6-for-7) led the way, while Sefolosha shot a perfect 5-for-5 and Gobert made a respectable 6-of-9 from the line.
The Jazz held Lillard (12-for-27) and McCollum (6-for-20) to only 38.3 percent shooting overall and 26.1 percent (6-for-23) from 3-point range.
The Jazz took better care of the ball with only 14 turnovers for the second straight game. They turned the ball over four times in the first quarter, but then only 10 more times the rest of the night. Utah scored 18 points off of Portland’s 17 turnovers.
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“I was pleased with how we competed. The game wasn’t really fluid for either team offensively early on, but I thought we hung in there and didn’t get discouraged, and as the game progressed we were much more aggressive and did a better job of attacking. … We played really good defense and were able to make some plays as well.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
There were 14 ties and 17 lead changes during the game. … This was Utah’s first overtime game of the season. … Joe Johnson (wrist) did not play for the Jazz. … Rodney Hood shot 0-for-11 from the field and did not score a point in 20 minutes. He sat on the bench for much of the second half and all of overtime. … Lillard, Sefolosha and Jerebko picked up one technical foul each. … The Jazz were on fire from outside, shooting 44.8 percent (13-for-29) as a team from beyond the arc.
The Jazz will stay at home to face the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.