SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Donovan Mitchell scored a career-high 46 points and led the Utah Jazz from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to a 115-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
Mitchell scored 17 in the final 8:10 of the game, including a 28-foot jumper with 43.7 seconds left that put Utah up 111-105. Mitchell could have made the game a bit less suspenseful, but missed two free throws with a three-point lead with 12.7 seconds left. He did make two foul shots with 8.6 seconds remaining, helping seal the win.
”You take certain risks that maybe you don’t take when you are up 17,” Mitchell said. “But we made the right plays and we got stops. ‘My teammates were saying, `We need you for these two free throws. Forget about what happened.’ When you have your teammates backing you like that, you feel confident.”
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 43 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes, but missed three free throws in the final 10 seconds.
On a night during which Rudy Gobert was ineffective, Derrick Favors had 23 points and tied a career best with 18 rebounds. Joe Ingles had 14 points and eight assists for the Jazz, who won their fourth straight.
”Once [Mitchell] starts making shots like that, all the attention goes to him so you get open,” said Favors, who made all five attempts and had 13 points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter. “You’ve just got to be ready, keeps your hands open and be ready to take that shot.”
”He was the real MVP of the game,” Mitchell said about Favors.
Khris Middleton scored 29 points and Brook Lopez had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks for the Bucks, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped on the second night of a back-to-back.
In an incredible game of runs, the Jazz made the plays down the stretch to outlast the team with the best record in the league. Utah has won 17 consecutive games against the Bucks at home.
While Antetokounmpo sat in the fourth quarter, the Jazz went on 17-2 run on the strength of Mitchell’s drives to the basket. It was back and forth the rest of the way.
Antetokounmpo relished going against Gobert, the reigning defensive player of the year, in space but also often initiated the offense and played the ball handler role on the pick-and-roll. Antetokounmpo scored or assisted on the first 15 points of a 17-2 spurt as the Bucks extended a 73-71 lead to a 90-73 advantage.
Malcolm Brogdon was out with plantar fasciitis and Eric Bledsoe was a late scratch because of a bad back, so Antetokounmpo started at point guard even though he was originally being listed as questionable with right foot soreness.
Antetokounmpo powered a 23-4 run bridging the second and third quarters to put the Bucks back in front, 64-57. Time after time, the Greek big man bullied Utah’s vaunted front line as he drove the lane and finished at the rim.
Facing one of the tallest lineups in NBA history with the five Bucks averaging more than 6-foot-10, the Jazz fell behind 11-0 and didn’t score until Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 8:41 left in the first quarter. Lopez had six blocked shots in the first six minutes of the contest as the Bucks led by as many as 14.
In contrast to how poorly the Jazz started the game, Utah dominated from that point with hustle, defense and a combination of long-range shooting and dunks. The Jazz outscored the Bucks 39-14 after the early deficit, with the crescendo coming when Favors got knocked down and then got up and dunked with force while getting fouled. Utah led 53-46 lead at halftime.
Antetokounmpo played without restriction at Los Angeles on Friday after sitting out with right knee soreness on Monday at Chicago and being limited to 24 minutes on Wednesday at Sacramento.
The Jazz next host New Orleans Monday night.