The Utah Jazz keep on rolling.
By defeating the Boston Celtics 122-108, they have now won five straight and 16 of their last 17. More importantly, their league-best record of 20-5 is tied for the best 25-game start in franchise history.
The Jazz are 16-1 over a 17-game span for the first time since 1997-98 👀 pic.twitter.com/SLb3tUedlh- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 10, 2021
Missing veteran Mike Conley, the Jazz weren't able to pull away in the first half. Instead, they were playing catch-up for much of the first 24 minutes. The second half, however, was a different story as their All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell took over.
Donovan Mitchell's late-game heroics
He scored 24 of his season-high 36 points in the second half, including 14 in the third quarter when the Jazz opened the game by outscoring the Celtics 42-32. Boston fought back up, bringing Utah's once 14-point lead to as few as four (108-104) with just 3:10 remaining.
That's when Mitchell took over. He scored or assisted on all of the remaining Jazz baskets, sparking them on a game-sealing 14-4 run.
Mitchell taking over down the stretch 👌 pic.twitter.com/etznER4eyS- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 10, 2021
SPIDA AGAIN 🕷 pic.twitter.com/elq8bbIu0x- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 10, 2021
Mitchell to Gobert on back-to-back possessions to seal the 16th win in 17 games for the @utahjazz! #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/c8scCp3TxA- NBA (@NBA) February 10, 2021
He also finished the game with nine assists, four rebounds, and a couple of blocks.
Ingles leads 'rest of the pack'
Missing a player like Conley, Mitchell needed support and he received plenty of it. A total of five players finished in double figures while Royce O'Neale scored nine as Jazz also received Joe Ingles' best game of the season.
The Aussie quietly went about his business but finished with a season-high 24 points on 5-of-11 shooting from long distance and a near-perfect 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
🇦🇺 @Joeingles7 & the @utahjazz make it 16 wins from their past 17 games! #TakeNote- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) February 10, 2021
📊 24 PTS | 6 AST | 5 3PM pic.twitter.com/DY43JjS5zg
Jordan Clarkson provided the spark off the bench, scoring 13 and dishing out five dimes. International players in Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals) and Rudy Gobert (18 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three blocks) stuffed the stat sheet.
Celtics hang around but can't finish
Despite missing a key player in Marcus Smart, the Celtics kept it close with the red-hot Jazz, but they simply had no answer to the Jazz's momentum-swinging runs, especially the one late that sealed the game.
Jaylen Brown (33) and Jayson Tatum combined for 56 points but only had one other teammate score in double figures. Was it the tired legs on the finale of five-game Western Conference road trip? Maybe.
"As a leader of this team, I take responsibility for how we respond and how we come out," Brown said postgame. "And in that fourth quarter, it just wasn't there for us."
The Jazz are about to get tested once again, after a couple of days off, when they host the two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
On the other hand, the Celtics fly home to play five of the next six at the TD Garden - starting with the Toronto Raptors in a couple of days.
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