The Utah Jazz left it late but emerged with a 110-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to move to 2-1 on the season.
Donovan Mitchell came up clutch, burying the go-ahead bucket off the glass with 7.0 seconds remaining to put them in front, before Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's shot at the buzzer for the win, fell flat.
Here are the key takeaways from today's game:
Donovan Mitchell = CLUTCH
Last season only Nikola Jokic and Chris Paul scored more 'clutch' points than Mitchell, who ranked third with 142 and in today's win he showed that this season will be no different.
Mitchell not only scored the game-winning bucket, but he scored the Jazz's final 12 points of the game. With the scores tied at 100-100 with 5:37 remaining it was Mitchell against the Thunder as the All-Star guard seized control of the offence after getting off to a slow start.
"The biggest thing is staying the course throughout an entire game," Mitchell said. "There were shots I missed that I felt like I could make. It was just staying the course."
the bucket that iced the win 🕷#TakeNote pic.twitter.com/Y8bWmMkee0- utahjazz (@utahjazz) December 29, 2020
He finished with 20 points, five assists, and two rebounds, on 8-of-23 shooting and 2-of-10 from the 3-point line. Mike Conley Jr. had a near triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, while Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points and Rudy Gobert 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Gobert recorded his 250th double-double for the Jazz, putting him third in franchise history behind only Karl Malone (799) and John Stockton (714).
After inking a five-year, $163 million extension in the off-season, the Jazz have committed their long-term future to Mitchell and performances like this show you why.
Lu Dort shows out
While Mitchell was the hero for the Jazz in the end, Canadian forward Lu Dort made sure he earned every single bucket with an inspired two-way performance.
Draped over Mitchell throughout the contest, Dort held the Jazz star to a quiet first half of five points on 2-of-10 shooting, before Mitchell took over late.
"First of all, gotta give him credit man. He's a hell of a defender," Mitchell said of Dort post-game.
Lu Dort had a career-high night.- StatMuse (@statmuse) December 29, 2020
On defense, he held Donovan Mitchell to 8-23 shooting, 2-10 from three. pic.twitter.com/1nmyiXMMnM
Dort has quickly emerged as one of the premiere defenders in the NBA, but his offensive game is quickly catching up. He scored a game-high and career-high 26 points, two rebounds, and two steals, on a scorching 9-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from the 3-point line.
His fifth triple of the night put the Thunder in front with 1:04 remaining, before Mitchell's clutch bucket sealed the W for the Jazz.
❄️ ice water in his veins ❄️#ThunderUp | @luthebeast pic.twitter.com/kIO5n64x15- OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 29, 2020
Gilgeous-Alexander added 23 points and seven assists, while George Hill chipped in 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists and fellow new addition Al Horford finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Jazz snap streak in return to Chesapeake
Entering today's game, the Utah Jazz had lost 17 consecutive games in Oklahoma City, with their last win coming in 2010.
It also marked the first game back in OKC since March 11 this year, which saw the game postponed after Rudy Gobert became the first player in the NBA to test positive for COVID-19. The game was postponed and soon the rest of the NBA followed, as did sporting leagues around the world.
"You can't help but remember that evening," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "It was significant for both teams, really for the league. The contrast between that point and where we are now - the season hiatus, the bubble, coming back and playing again - it seems like a lifetime since that happened."
The Jazz return to Utah for two games, taking on the Phoenix Suns on Thursday and the LA Clippers on Friday, before embarking on a seven-game road trip.
Meanwhile, the Thunder take on the Orlando Magic Tuesday, before squaring off with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
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