ORLANDO (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz haven’t lost two games in a row in nearly two month, and they weren’t about to begin their final road trip before the All-Star break with consecutive defeats.
Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, 25 in the second half, and Joe Ingles filled in well again at point guard in place of Mike Conley to help the Utah Jazz beat the Orlando Magic 124-109 on Saturday night.
Utah bounced back from a loss a night earlier in Miami, improving to 6-1 following a defeat this season. The NBA-leading Jazz have lost consecutive games just once all season.
“We’re not allowed to be tired, for one thing,” said Utah coach Quin Snyder, whose team improved to 5-1 this season on the second night of a back-to-backs.
Mitchell shook off a scoreless first quarter and scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half. He 15 points in the third quarter when Utah pushed a four-point halftime lead out to as much as 14. The Jazz improved to 25-0 when leading after three periods and won by double digits for an NBA-best 23rd time this season.
“I had a few lapses in the first half and a few bad shots and then it was like, `OK, this is what I see,'” said Mitchell, who made 9 of 13 shots after halftime. “At the end of the day, I’ve seen every coverage and it’s just about adjusting.”
Ingles had 17 points, six assists and three 3-pointers. The Jazz are 7-0 this season when he starts at point guard in place of Conley, who was out with right hamstring injury management. That’s the same injury that kept the point guard out from Feb. 2-12, a six-game stretch where Utah won each game with Ingles sharing ball-handling duties with Mitchell.
“I try to play the same game, but I realize I’m going to have the ball more in certain situations,” said Ingles, who had four assists to center Rudy Gobert in the first half. “I’m just making sure I’m getting guys involved and getting them in the right spots.”
Gobert had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson, the NBA’s top-scoring reserve, had 18 points for Utah, which shot 52.9% and made 17 of 45 3-pointers.
Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points, but missed out on his 24th double-double by two rebounds. Orlando was pounded 52-37 on the glass and surrendered 24 second-chance points to the Jazz.
“That was the key tonight, giving up 24 against a team that’s already the best team offensively right now in the NBA,” Vucevic said.
Evan Fournier (16 points) and Terrence Ross (10 points) combined to shoot just 11 of 36 from the floor and made only 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
The Jazz continue their road trip Monday at New Orleans.