OKLAHOMA CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Donovan Mitchell scored the last 12 points of the game for the Jazz, including the go-ahead layup with 7 seconds left and finished with 20 points, lifting Utah over the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-109, on Monday night.
“Games aren’t going to be easy, we’re not going to win every game by 40,” Mitchell said. “But these are games that we have to win and we came out and did that.”
“I don’t feel like we played our best,” said head coach Quin Snyder “But that’s the challenge, to figure out how to win when you don’t have your best game. So, hopefully we can take this and build on it and keep getting better.”
Bogan Bogdanovich scored 23 points and Mike Conley added 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Jazz, who ended a 17-game losing streak in regular season road games against the Thunder, including games in the NBA’s Orlando bubble last season. Utah’s last win in Oklahoma City came on Oct. 31, 2010.
“We tightened it up down the stretch,” Snyder said. “You have to get stops to win. They played hard. I don’t feel like we played our best, but that’s the challenge, to figure out how to win when you don’t have your best game. We hope we can take this and build on it and keep getting better.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who hit a game-winning shot in the Thunder’s season-opening win in Charlotte, missed a driving layup in heavy traffic at the buzzer. He had 23 points and seven assists, while Luguentz Dort led the Thunder with a career-high 26 points.
“We had a shot there at the end, which is all you can ask for,” said the Thunder’s Al Horford, who scored 11 points. “There was a lot of positive. It was just too bad we couldn’t finish the game.”
An 8-0 run by Oklahoma City to start the fourth quarter put the Thunder up 95-86, and they led 100-93 after a drive by Darius Bazley with 7:32 left. Utah answered with 11 straight points — the final six by Mitchell — to go ahead 102-100 with 5:10 left.
Dort’s 3-pointer with 1:05 left gave Oklahoma City a 109-108 lead. Both teams traded empty possessions before Mitchell’s game-winning basket. Mitchell scored the Jazz’s final 12 points.
As the game progressed, “I thought Donovan did a better of job of trying to set up and get help, using screens and pick and roll and kind of take what they give you,” Snyder said. “That’s the idea, to get better as the game goes on.”
The Thunder hit their first five shots — including four 3-pointers — to go ahead 17-5 and held that lead for most of the first half, taking a 52-49 advantage into halftime. Mitchell and Bogdanovic were a combined 4 of 19 from the field in the half.
After eight lead changes in the third quarter, Oklahoma City led 87-84.
Utah was Oklahoma City’s scheduled opponent on March 11, when the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The game was postponed moments before tipoff and the NBA season was temporarily shut down.
The Jazz (2-1) next host Phoenix Thursday night.