SALT LAKE CITY – – Donovan Mitchell says when the ball moves and the thinking stops, the Utah Jazz really shine.
“Aggressive decision making,” Mitchell said. “When you start to think too much, that’s when the turnovers and mistakes happen. “
Mitchell scored 30 points, Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 16 rebounds, and the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 129-107 on Monday night.
Jordan Clarkson added 22 points for Utah, who used quick passes and spacing to score 19 3-pointers and shot 53% from the field per game after posting a high of 20 3s. The Jazz tied their season high with 46 goals scored.
“Our guys were selfless and took the ball off when they needed it. As you spread it out and take a few shots, all the paths to the basket open up as well, ”Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
Anfernee Simons scored a record 24 points and Jusuf Nurkic also scored 24 as the Trail Blazers fell to 1-10 on the road this season.
“We’re such a different ball club on the road,” Portland coach Chauncy Billups said. “We play with this casually a lot, without urgency. It’s dangerous. And at home you can do that and a team can do a run and you have your crowd behind you and you can overcome a lot of times at home. On the road, you can’t do that. “
Royce O’Neale of Utah missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, but Joe Ingles had 14 points, four 3 points and six assists in his place. Clarkson made six shots beyond the arc.
Norman Powell of Portland had come out with a contusion to his right thigh. Simons had a sparkling offensive performance, but the Trail Blazers didn’t get much from star Damian Lillard to counter Utah’s offensive prowess.
“I think everyone is still trying to get used to the style of play that Chauncey wants us to play. We have to keep emphasizing that this is the way we have to play. We have to stick to it, ”Simons said.
After making two of his first three shots, Lillard made just two more buckets in nine attempts. Lillard has gone 16 for 45 in his last three games.
Utah’s defensive plan was to get the ball out of Lillard’s hands for someone other than him or CJ McCollum to shoot. Quick hands and flashes in the passing lanes paid off for the Jazz, who won six of eight.
“We really wanted to make his life a little more difficult. We wanted to force (Lillard) to crash into me and make sure we didn’t give up the easy 3s and keep him out of the free throw line, ”said Gobert.
Ingles scored 3 straight points to cap a 16-3 run in Utah to start the second half. Mitchell pushed the Jazz to a 21-point lead on a variety of floats, layups and dunks. His 6-foot tear down the lane made it 85-64 with 4:03 left in the third quarter, Utah’s ninth consecutive goal possession.
“The ball started going in on some of those shots that I missed and it helps everything else to fall into place,” said Mitchell.
But the Trail Blazers also caught fire at depth and reduced the lead to 94-84 early in the final period. The two teams combined for 15 of 24 in a 3-point range, and the Jazz set a season-high with 41 points in the third quarter.
Eight of Gobert’s nine placements were dunks. Most of them were from alley-oops and some were from switch mismatches. Does the dunk get boring?
“In fact, sometimes I like a challenge. When they throw it back a bit and I have to really reach out, that’s good. Really, I’m just happy to have a lob no matter where it is, ”said Gobert.
Ingles, who had six assists, said the way the Jazz attacked blitzes and hurdles the Trail Blazers showed made it easier to read.
“It got to the point that we just had to decide if we wanted someone like Bojan (Bogdanovic) to get an open 3 or Rudy to get a dunk,” he said.
Trail Blazers: Lillard came with a limp after entering Gobert early in the third quarter, but got away with it. … A review a few minutes later deprived Lillard of a three-point playing opportunity by reversing a foul on Conley. … McCollum committed a technical foul with 9:01 left after a no-call on a drive to the basket.
Jazz: Indicating a slow, passive start, Utah also had no quick break points, no turnovers, and no second chance points in the first quarter. … Gobert blocked Lillard’s layup in the fourth quarter, then gave the amount of basketball a combination of punches as play continued behind him. … The Jazz missed the two technical faults.
Trail Blazers: Host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
Jazz: Host the Boston Celtics on Friday.