SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Trae Young was surrounded wherever he went, while Donovan Mitchell found himself alone on the perimeter time and time again.
Mitchell made six 3-pointers on his way to 26 points and the Utah Jazz used a 21-0 run in the second half to power past the Atlanta Hawks 116-92 on Friday night for their fourth straight win.
“The biggest thing tonight was the way we defended. We wanted to get stops and run,” Mitchell said after the Jazz scored 27 fast-break points.
Following a brilliant performance in the NBA bubble last year, Mitchell started this season slowly but is becoming more efficient and effective. He’s making more than half his shots from both 2- and 3-point range over the last four games and averaging more than 28 points.
“It’s easier when we keep breaking the paint and finding people open,” Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, Young was held to four points on 1-for-11 shooting with seven assists as the Hawks dropped their fifth game in the last six. That scoring total was tied for Young’s lowest since entering the NBA, matching Nov. 13, 2018, against Golden State.
“Everybody that guarded him, primarily Mike (Conley) and Royce (O’Neale), they were solid. The main thing we talked about was not fouling, showing our hands,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “Rudy (Gobert) and (Derrick) Favors were great as well, protecting the rim.”
Young has shot less than 36% overall and 25% on 3s over the last seven games.
“Denied him the entire game as much as they could. You know, challenged him to work. Probably frustrated him,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 points, Gobert had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Jordan Clarkson scored all 16 of his points in the second half to boost the Jazz.
“We have been emphasizing pushing the pace, playing fast and getting downhill,” Clarkson said.
Cam Reddish scored 20 and Clint Capela had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta.
Kevin Huerter’s jumper trimmed Utah’s lead to 82-74 late in the third quarter but the Jazz went on a 21-0 spree to break the game open over the next 4:42. Clarkson’s seven consecutive points and Georges Niang’s 3-pointer staked Utah to its largest lead at 103-74.
“We pushed back tonight, being able to withstand their run when teams start to be physical, and we got past that, unlike what we did earlier in the year,” Mitchell said.
Capela scored six straight points to cap an 11-0 spurt to start the second half that drew the Hawks to 61-57 after a 15-point halftime deficit, but they never got closer.
The Jazz pressured Young from the opening tip and occasionally trapped him to get the ball out of his hands. Young didn’t score until midway through the second quarter and the Hawks struggled to find a rhythm as Utah jumped to an 18-4 lead.
“Our mindset coming in was to be more aggressive. We wanted to take our defense to them and not let them dictate the dance,” Conley said.
Utah lives by the 3 this season more than ever and saw its margin ebb and flow depending on its accuracy beyond the arc. Two of Utah’s franchise record-high games with 3-pointers made have come in the last four outings, and the Jazz hit 20 of them for the third time in four games.
“Our defensive containment on the basketball was a point of emphasis, and we didn’t get it done tonight at all,” Pierce said.
On the other side, Atlanta made its first 3 with 4:34 left until halftime. The Hawks finished 5 for 28 from long range.
Utah, which allows 1,500 fans in person, hadn’t played at home since beating the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year’s Day but gave the crowd plenty of long-range fireworks.
Both teams had an unexpected day off Wednesday because of virus protocols. The Hawks’ matchup with Phoenix was postponed and the Jazz ended their scheduled seven-game road trip one day early because Washington didn’t have the minimum of eight available players. Utah went 4-2 on the trip.
The Jazz next play at Denver Sunday night at 6:00 p.m.