LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles scored 27 points each as the league-leading Utah Jazz used an explosive and balanced attack to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 and continue their dominant run through the NBA on Friday.
The Jazz had four players score 25 points in a game for the first time in franchise history as Donovan Mitchell (26) and Jordan Clarkson (25) also got into an offensive flow in front of a pandemic-limited crowd of almost 4,000 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
It was the sixth straight win and the 17th victory in 18 games for the Jazz, who became the first NBA team to reach the 20 win mark when they beat Boston on Tuesday.
“It just looks fun. Like when I watch them play, it looks fun, it looks easy,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “It looks simple. For sure, they look like us last year, and man, when you’re at that point and you’re playing with that confidence you’re hard to beat
Gobert had 12 assists and four blocks while Clarkson came off the bench to score 25 for Utah, who have beaten Milwaukee twice this season and both times by double digits.
Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds and six assists but the Bucks lost their second game in a row.
The Jazz seized control in the second quarter when they outscored the Bucks 34-21.
They put up 35 points in the first quarter and nailed 12 of 24 threes in the first half.
Elsewhere, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 63 points as the Los Angeles Lakers used a second half blitz to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-105 for their seventh straight win.
For the first time in four games the defending league champion Lakers didn’t have to go into overtime, but they did need to rally from a 20-point first half deficit for the second game in a row.
“We got to figure that out,” said James. “We shouldn’t be down in the first quarter. We can’t do that against good teams and we got some good teams coming up. Being down 22-2 is not a good ingredient for championship team, but we found a way to get it done.”
Davis scored 35 points and James finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who looked tired early after playing three straight overtime games and were down 22-2 halfway through the first quarter against the Grizzlies.
The Lakers outscored Memphis 41-23 in the third quarter. In the fourth, they boosted the lead to double digits and cruised the rest of the way.
“We finally got some stops. Our defence wasn’t where it needed to be in the first quarter. We grinded it out made a little bit of a run at the end of the third,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
James played 34 minutes, capping his scoring performance with an emphatic one-handed dunk on a pass from Marc Gasol with three minutes to go.
In Dallas, Luka Doncic scored a career-high 46 points to propel the Dallas Mavericks to a fourth straight victory on Friday, 143-130 over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Doncic added 12 assists and eight rebounds – his seventh career game with at least 40 points and 10 assists.
Kristaps Porzingis added 36 points for the Mavericks, who withstood a career-best 36 points from Pelicans star Zion Williamson.
The scoring extravaganza included a franchise record 25 three-pointers from the Mavericks, who took a 69-65 lead into the second half – in which they never trailed.
Doncic connected on five of eight from three-point range, while Porzingis hit eight of 13 from beyond the arc.
Williamson was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field in the first half and 14-of-15 overall – his lone miss a three-point attempt in the third quarter. “Luka was phenomenal,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “KP was phenomenal. Williamson was ridiculous.”
Dallas pushed the lead to double digits midway through the third, connecting on 13 of their first 15 shots after the break.
Carlisle thought the contest was a “pillow fight” defensively, but he couldn’t help but be impressed by the explosive offence on display.
“The shotmaking was phenomenal, by both teams,” he said. “We were able to get a little bit of traction defensively in the fourth.”
Also, Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points on 14-for-21 shooting, Marcus Morris came off the bench to score 20 points as the Los Angeles Clippers cruised to a 125-106 win over the host Chicago Bulls.