SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz played without point guards Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto because of injuries, and it was no big deal.
Not with Donovan Mitchell showing off his ball-handling skills.
Mitchell had 33 points and a career-high nine assists, helping Utah beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-95 on Friday night. The second-year guard helped make up for his missing teammates with a flurry of game-changing plays on both ends of the court.
“My biggest thing is just trying to make the right reads,” Mitchell said. “That’s been my thing since I first got here. Just continuing to play under control and just find guys.”
Utah (22-21) made 15 three-pointers in its fourth win in five games. Rudy Gobert had 12 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. Joe Ingles collected 14 points and a career-high 12 boards, and Derrick Favors finished with 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
The Jazz enjoyed a 65-55 advantage on the glass, marking the eighth time in franchise history they had at least 65 rebounds.
Michael Beasley scored 17 points for the Lakers. Brandon Ingram added 15 points and Kyle Kuzma had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Los Angeles (23-20) lost for the sixth time in nine games without LeBron James in the lineup. James is out with a groin injury.
The Lakers shot just 36 per cent from the floor.
“We couldn’t ever get a rhythm going,” coach Luke Walton said. “We couldn’t find it. Once we were struggling to score, we let that affect our overall energy, which is something we talk about. It’s a good learning experience for our guys.”
Utah broke the game open in the second quarter by holding Los Angeles without a field goal for nearly seven minutes. The Lakers trailed 41-34 after Ivica Zubac scored back-to-back baskets with 7:35 left. They did not get another basket until Javale McGee hit a short jumper with 55.1 seconds left in the half.
Utah took advantage of the drought. The Jazz used an 18-4 run to open a 59-38 lead. Mitchell fuelled much of the run with his play on both ends of the court. He drove for a pair of baskets, blocked a layup attempt by Kyle Kuzma, and fed a no-look pass to Ingles in the corner to set up his first three-pointer of the night.
“We guarded,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We defended well. We still have to work at scoring off our defence.”
Los Angeles trimmed Utah’s lead to 76-66 in the third quarter after Beasley made back-to-back baskets and hit a pair of free throws as part of a 10-0 run. The Lakers couldn’t cut it to single digits.
Utah used a 14-5 run, capped by a layup from Gobert, to put it out of reach again and take a 95-73 lead with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Royce O’Neale made his fourth start of the season after Neto’s groin injury against the Magic last Wednesday forced Snyder to shuffle his starting lineup yet again.
O’Neale responded with 17 points, including a career-high five three-pointers.
“People don’t know that Royce is one of the best shooters on the team,” Mitchell said. “Tonight was a night where people could see that.”