SACRAMENTO (ABC4 Sports) – Donovan Mitchell scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Utah Jazz overcame an uneven performance on both ends of the floor to beat the Sacramento Kings 123-117 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday night.
Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Joe Ingles scored 22 and Derrick Favors added 18 points and nine boards as the Jazz won their sixth straight against the Kings.
Utah trailed by 16 early in the first quarter, blew a 14-point lead in the third and then pulled away in the fourth.
Mitchell, runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting last season, struggled with his shot all night but came up big late. He made a pair of 3-pointers, scored on a driving layup and hit a key free throw with 1:46 remaining.
Mitchell shot 8 of 21 and went made only 3 of 10 on 3s.
”You could tell from the tip that they were ready and we didn’t do a good job of defending that,” Mitchell said. ”There was one play where I dunked the ball and I’m jogging back on defense like I did something, and then Justin Jackson gets a 3. Then there was a dead ball and we’re all just talking with the ref and they come back down and knock down a 3. Little things like that can’t happen.”
Seven players scored in double figures for Utah.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 23 points and seven rebounds for Sacramento. De’Aaron Fox added 21 points and seven assists.
Marvin Bagley III, the second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, had six points and five rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench for the Kings.
Utah beat the Kings by 39 points in a preseason game less than a week earlier but got off to a sloppy start and fell behind 25-9 late in the first quarter.
Things turned around quickly for coach Quin Snyder’s team.
”That whole group that started the game just was flat, and flat defensively,” Snyder said. ”Against a team that has the level of speed that these guys have, you’re playing on your heels and it’s hard. As a collective group we just need to be more consistent with our focus defensively throughout the game.”
The Jazz put up 59 points over the next 16 minutes, getting 17 from Ingles, who repeatedly scored from the perimeter after getting freed up on screens.
Ingles had 10 points in the second and Mitchell made a layup and 3-pointer to cap a 12-2 run that put the Jazz up 68-55 at halftime.
Utah led 71-57 early in the third before Sacramento went on an 18-2 run.
The Jazz made 13 of 27 three-pointers, and made 51.9 percent from the field overall.
The Jazz next take on the 2-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in their home opener on Friday night.