After a week of ice-cold shooting and disappointing losses, the Utah Jazz (finally) got things rolling on Saturday night with a much-needed 114-106 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
After each of the past two games—where they shot a combined 31.8 percent from the field—Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has preached that his team just needs to keep firing away. Well, they did that, and the results were solid: 49.4 percent shooting and a season high for total points.
The win put an end to Utah’s four-game losing streak.
Rookie Donovan Mitchell—just two games removed from shooting a disastrous 3-for-21 against Philadelphia on Tuesday—started for the second straight night and led the Jazz with 26 points. Mitchell shot 10-for-17 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line, and he added three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 26 minutes.
Derrick Favors double-doubled with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Ricky Rubio stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals in the win.
Rodney Hood came off the bench to score 19 points, and Joe Ingles added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Guard D’Angelo Russell scored a team-high 26 points for the Nets (5-8). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (19 points) and a pair of former Jazz forwards—DeMarre Carroll (15 points) and Trevor Booker (12) points—also scored in double figures in the loss.
The Jazz (6-7) played without Rudy Gobert, who suffered a knee contusion against the Heat on Friday night.
Favors, who started at center in place of Gobert, notched his second double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and he added one block and one steal in a season-high 36 minutes. He shot an efficient 9-for-15 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line, and he only turned the ball over once. It was Favors’ best game in … well, a long time—probably since he dropped 20 and 12 against his hometown Hawks just over nine months ago. He hadn’t scored 24 points in a game since March 19, 2016.
Utah’s ball movement was crisp from the start of the game. Ingles found Favors cutting to the rim for a dunk. Rubio swung the ball to Mitchell, who canned an open three. Mitchell drove in and then kicked the ball out to Ingles, who buried a three of his own. An early 8-0 run gave Utah a 12-4 lead in the first five minutes.
The Jazz created even more breathing room with a 25-4 run midway through the first half. Hood tied the game with a three that just beat the first-quarter buzzer, and then he proceeded to make his next four shots (including three more 3-pointers) in the first four minutes of the second quarter to help the Jazz build a 45-29 lead.
The Nets got hot in the fourth quarter and kept it close, but the Jazz had an answer every time Brooklyn started to close the gap. Rubio, Mitchell (twice) and Favors each responded to Brooklyn buckets with layups of their own, while Favors (10 points) and Mitchell (nine points) combined for 19 fourth-quarter points to help seal the victory.
What a difference a day makes. After scoring only 25 points (on 4-for-33 shooting) in the second half against the Heat on Friday night, the Jazz exploded for 61 first-half points (a season high) on Saturday. Utah was on fire from the field, shooting 23-for-45 (51.1 percent) in the first two quarters against the Nets.
The Jazz shot 11-for-29 from 3-point range, with Hood (5-for-8) and Ingles (3-for-7) leading the way.
Utah was once again solid from the charity stripe, shooting 21-for-25 (84.0 percent) as a team. After ranking 24th in the NBA in free-throw shooting last season (74.7 percent), the Jazz lead the league at 82.9 percent this year.
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“It was a gritty effort, with Rudy out, in particular, and on a back-to-back after last night’s game. We came out with a lot of chutzpah, and that was good to see. I think our effort got rewarded with some shots going in.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Utah grabbed 13 steals. … Thabo Sefolosha stepped into the starting five with Gobert out, and he finished with nine points, nine rebounds and a game-high five steals in 32 impactful minutes. Sefolosha had the highest net rating (+17) of any player who took the court tonight. … Utah outrebounded Brooklyn 44-41. … The Jazz are now 6-3 at home this season.
The Jazz will stay in Salt Lake City for their third home game in four nights when they host the Timberwolves on Monday. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm MT.