ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points and Joe Ingles returned to 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 the night before in Miami, improving to 6-1 after a loss. The NBA-leading Jazz have lost consecutive games only once all season and not since Jan. 6, when they were 4-4.
“For starters, we are not allowed to be tired,” said Utah coach Quin Snyder, whose team improved to 5-1 this season on the second night of a back-to-backs.
Mitchell rocked a scoreless first quarter and scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half. He had 15 points in the third quarter as Utah pushed a four-point lead at halftime to 14 points. The Jazz improved to 25-0 when leading after three periods and won by double digits for the NBA’s best 23rd time this season.
” I had some lapses in the first half and some bad shots and then I thought, ‘Okay, this is what I see,’ ” said Mitchell, who made 9 of 13 shots after halftime. “At the end of the day, I’ve seen all the coverages and it’s just about adjusting.”
Ingles had 17 points, six assists and three triples. The Jazz are 7-0 this season when he starts at point guard in place of Conley, who was out handling a right hamstring injury. That’s the same injury that kept the point guard out from Feb. 2-12, a six-game span in which Utah won every game with Ingles, sharing ball handling duties with Mitchell.
“I try to play the same game, but I realize that I am going to have more of the ball in certain situations,” said Ingles, who gave four assists to center Rudy Gobert in the first half. “ I just make sure to get the guys involved and put them in the right places. ”
Gobert had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson, the NBA’s highest-scoring reserve, scored 18 points for Utah, who was 52.9% correct and 17-of-45 3-pointers.
Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points but missed his 24th double-double by two rebounds. Orlando was hit 52-37 on the glass and gave up 24 second-chance points to the Jazz.
“That was the key tonight, giving up 24 against a team that is 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 just 1 of 13 from 3-point range.
Veteran referee Bill Kennedy was forced out of the game with 2:48 remaining in the first half due to an apparent back injury, leaving an inexperienced team on the court. Natalie Sago, one of the NBA’s five referees, is in her second season as a full-time referee, while Nate Green is in his first season in the NBA after four years in the G League. Kennedy did not return in the second half.
Jazz: Utah, which entered the game averaging 42.7 three-point shooting attempts per game, got 20 shots from beyond the arc in the first 17 minutes of the game. . The Jazz missed their first six free throw attempts of the game.
Magic: James Ennis III did not play due to calf pain, allowing Dwayne Bacon to start for the fourth time. . If the Magic are going to make the playoffs for the third year in a row, they will have to do so against the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA. Twenty of his 36 games after the All-Star break will be on the road and there are nine straight games. . Mo Bamba (11 points) had the highlight of the night when he caught a deflected alley-oop pass with his left hand and sank.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Jazz: in New Orleans on Monday night.
Magic: Host Dallas Monday night.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.