ATLANTA (ABC4 Sports) – With Donovan Mitchell out with a sprained ankle, Jordan Clarkson snapped out of one of the worst slumps of his career to lead the Utah Jazz to a 116-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Clarkson came into the game missing his last 18 three-point attempts. After that ignominious streak reached 23 in a row, Clarkson got hot in the third quarter, ending up with 30 points, as the Jazz improved to an NBA-best 7-1 on the season.
“I know I’ve ben missing shots,” Clarkson said. “But I’ve been doing what coach told me to do, my teammates tell me to do and that’s keep being myself.”
The game was tight through the first three quarters, with the Jazz heading to the final period up 75-74. But Utah blew away the home team in the final 12 minutes, knocking down eight 3-pointers while hitting 13 of their final 22 shots.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points, while Joe Ingles, starting in place of Mitchell, added 19.
Clarkson was coming off a miserable game Tuesday night, going 0 for 11 from 3-point range and 1 of 13 overall to finish with just two points in a victory over Sacramento. It was his second straight game without a 3 after making at least one from long range in 99 consecutive games.
Undeterred, last season’s Sixth Man of the Year kept right on firing against the Hawks, hitting 4 of 10 beyond the arc and 10 of 19 overall for a season high in points.
“My teammates kept coming up to me and saying JC, you’re doing what you do, you’re shooting the ball, they’re just not going,” Clarkson said. “Donovan was the one who came up to me and said bro, when it starts falling it’s just going to rain.”
“As a team, you try to figure out ways to make it easier for him and not wanting him to overthink it or feel like he’s letting us down or anything like that,” Ingles said of Clarkson. “We knew at some point it was going to change. He’s not going to shoot those percentages the rest of the year.”
Mike Conley had his first double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 11 assists. Rudy Gobert added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz.
After a miserable first quarter in which the Jazz scored just 15 points, Utah finished strong, shooting 50.6 percent from the field, including a season-best 41.7 percent (17 for 41) from three-point range.
Utah scored 77 points in the second half after a 39-point first half.
Trae Young scored 21 points for the Hawks, who shot just 42.7% from the field, including 7 of 28 on 3-pointers. It was Atlanta’s first loss in four games at State Farm Arena this season.
Mitchell was a surprise scratch. He injured the ankle in closing seconds of the first half against the Kings but returned to finish with a season-high 36 points.
Mitchell insisted the injury wasn’t serious or related to a severe ankle sprain last season that caused him to miss the final 16 games of the regular season and the playoff opener.
But the Jazz were taking no chances, deciding to sit Mitchell as they started a three-game road trip.
Joe Ingles started in place of Mitchell at shooting guard and scored 19 points.
It’s not known how long Mitchell will be out.
The Jazz next play at Miami Saturday night.