SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rookie Donovan Mitchell couldn’t hold back a wide, toothy smile as Utah Jazz fans chanted his name and gave an ovation that lasted for minutes after a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Mitchell scored a career-high 41 points and powered the Jazz’s fourth-quarter rally in a 114-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
The No 13 overall draft pick set the Jazz scoring record for a rookie and became the first NBA rookie to score 40 points in a game since Blake Griffin in 2011. He surpassed Darrell Griffith’s team-record 38 in 1981.
Mitchell is the seventh rookie in franchise history to have a 30-plus point game.
“I don’t have any words, to be honest,” Mitchell said. “I had Jonas (Jerebko) in my ear saying keep taking those shots. Even shots that may not always be good shots, he says keep being aggressive. Coach’s saying it. Everybody’s saying it.
“The fans are incredible. Just like Louisville. I’m speechless, but it was great to have that ovation. I’m pretty sure I was smiling for about the last six points I scored. Still smiling now.”
New Orleans star Anthony Davis went down with a left groin injury at the beginning of the fourth quarter, hitting the ground under the Jazz basket and laying there until trainers came to help.
They eventually carried the All-Star off because he couldn’t put any pressure on one of his legs. He was immediately placed in a wheelchair and taken to the training room. Davis had 19 points and 10 rebounds before leaving. DeMarcus Cousins led New Orleans with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pelicans controlled the first three quarters with an outstanding shooting effort despite decent defense from the Jazz.
They shot 52.4 per cent and made 11 of 21 three-point attempts in the first three quarters.