ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points and Joe Ingles again well filled in at the point guard instead of Mike Conley to help Utah Jazz defeat Orlando Magic 124-109 on Saturday evening.
Utah bounced back from a loss the night before in Miami and improved to 6-1 after one loss. The NBA-leading Jazz has only lost back-to-back games once in their entire season, and not since Jan 6 when they were 4-4 were.
“For one thing, we can’t be tired,” said Utah coach Quin Snyder, whose team improved to 5-1 in the second night of a duel this season.
Mitchell shook off a goalless first quarter and scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half. He scored 15 points in the third quarter when Utah took a four point lead to 14 points at halftime. Jazz improved to 25-0 after three periods and won for the 23rd time this season with a double-digit NBA record.
“I had a couple of rounds and a couple of bad shots in the first half and then it was like, ‘OK, I can see that,” said Mitchell, who made 9 of 13 strokes after half-time. “At the end of the day, I did seen every coverage and it’s just a matter of adjusting myself. ”
Ingles had 17 points, six assists and three 3-pointers. The Jazz is 7-0 this season when he starts at point guard instead of Conley, who was out managing the right Achilles tendon injury. That’s the same injury that kept the point guard out February 2-12, a six-game stretch in which Utah won every game, with Ingles sharing ball handling duties with Mitchell.
“I’m trying to play the same game but I know that in certain situations I’ll have more ball,” said Ingles, who had to center four assists Rudy Gobert in the first half. “I’m just making sure I get the guys involved and put them in the right places.”
Gobert had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson, the NBA’s most scoring reserve, had 18 points for Utah, which shot 52.9% and made 17 of 45 3-pointers.
Magical all-star center Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points but missed his 24th double-double by two rebounds. Orlando was hit on the glass 52-37, giving up 24 second chance points to Jazz.
“That was key tonight, giving up 24 against a team that is already the best offensively in the NBA,” said Vucevic.
The experienced referee Bill Kennedy had to leave the game with 2:48 in the first half due to an obvious back injury and left an inexperienced team on the ground. Natalie Sago, one of five NBA referees, is in her second season as a full-time referee, while Nate Green is in his first NBA season in four years in the G League. Kennedy didn’t return in the second half.
Jazz: Utah, which came into play with an average of 42.7 3-point shot attempts per game, scored 20 shots from outside the arc in the first 17 minutes of the game. … The Jazz missed the first six free-throw attempts of the game.
Magic: James Ennis III did not play because of a sore calf, which allows Dwayne Bacon start for the fourth time. … If the Magic are to make the playoffs for a third year in a row, they have to do so against the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA. Twenty of their 36 games after the All-Star hiatus will be on the road and there will be nine games in a row. … In Bamba (11 points) had the high point of the night when he caught a pass outside the target lane with his left hand and dived.
Jazz: In New Orleans on Monday night.
Magic: Host Dallas on Monday night.