SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz are on a historic pace to start the 2020-21 season.
The Jazz matched its best start in franchise history at 20-5 with a 122-108 victory over the Boston Celtics Tuesday night at Vivint Arena.
Donovan Mitchell scored a season-high 36 points and dished out nine assists, while Joe Ingles scored a season-high 24 points for the Jazz, who were without starting point guard Mike Conley for a second straight game.
Utah has now won 16 of its last 17 games.
“It’s a group that isn’t concerned with our record, our win streak,” Utah head coach Quin Snyder said. “We want to win, but the focus is squarely on getting better.”
Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 23 for Boston. The Celtics (12-11) lost for the third time in four games.
After trailing by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, the Celtics cut it to 108-104 on free throws from Brown and Tristan Thompson. The Jazz slammed the door on a comeback by scoring on six straight possessions.
Ingles and Mitchell combined for three 3-pointers to start the run and Gobert finished it with back-to-back dunks, giving Utah a 122-108 lead in the final minute.
“I’m always going to be confident in my abilities and what I can do,” Mitchell said. “But the trust factor allows me to be in that position.”
“He’s really able to understand the tempo of the game and is able to find his teammates,” Gobert said about Mitchell. “He’s improved every single year. But this year it feels like, especially these last few weeks, he’s been at his best.”
The Celtics made their first five baskets from long distance – starting with three consecutive 3-pointers from Brown – and shot 7 of 13 overall from 3-point range during the first quarter in taking a 27-19 lead.
Utah clamped down defensively in the second quarter, holding the Celtics without a point over a four-minute stretch early in the period. The Jazz also settled into a consistent rhythm on offense as the quarter progressed.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Royce O’Neale and Mitchell triggered a 14-4 run that put Utah ahead 44-38. The Jazz scored on five of six possessions during the run, culminating in a dunk from Bogdanovic.
Mitchell dominated during a third quarter where the Jazz totaled 42 points. He scored three baskets and assisted on two others while fueling a 17-4 run that extended Utah’s lead to 70-58 midway through the quarter. Mitchell ended up with 14 points in the quarter after scoring 12 in the first half.
Rudy Gobert finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, making eight of nine shots from the field, while Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 16 points and pulled down eight boards.
Utah, the best three-point shooter team in the NBA, made 18 of 48 (37.5%) from beyond the arc. Mitchell made 6 of 10 from 3-point range, while Royce O’Neale sank 3 of 4 three-pointers.
Jordan Clarkson struggled from the field, making 2 of 10 three-pointers, but finished with 13 points.
The Jazz next host Milwaukee Friday night at 7:00 p.m.