Donovan Mitchell Blurs 'Etch-A-Sketch' Kings, Scores 34 in Utah Jazz Win
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz gets free for a lay up against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Jan. 17, 2018.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. —
It looked like a sleeper game on the schedule before the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz played each other at Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night.
But rookie Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz woke up a sellout crowd of 17, 583 in the facility and kept their attention for 35 of the 48 minutes he was on the floor.
Mitchell had 34 points, three assists, and three steals to lead the Jazz (18-26) to a 120-105 victory over the Kings. The first-year player from Louisville, picked No. 13 overall in last year’s draft made 14 of 19 shots from the field and knocked down 5 of 7 from the free-throw line.
Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger liked what he had seen and heard about Mitchell. But the 6-foot-3 guard’s performance against the Kings certainly made him a believer.
“He’s a stud. He can play, man. He can really play,” said Joerger. “We’ve seen that during the course of the year. He’s playing in an open system with stretch 4s. So he has some space to attack and he can get to any spot he wants on the floor.”
Publicity Agents OpticalVision. Footage by T. Ray Harvey
When Mitchell attacked the basket, he did it with sheer force to be reckoned with. Mitchell three death-defying, dunks. The first of such kind in the first quarter when when he stole a ball from Zach Randolph that turned in a slammer.
The second emerged in the third quarter on driving dunk up the middle of the lane, and the final nearly two minutes when he banged an Alley Oop assisted by Joe Ingles.
“Did you see the reaction?” Mitchell’s teammate Rodney Hood said off Sacramento’s spectators who were impressed with the crowd pleasers. “I’m pretty sure you saw the reaction. He’s ultra-athletic. When he gets in the lane we want him to finish like that. Before long, people will start giving him respect.”
The team has been struggling with center Rudy Gobert sidelined in the last 15 games with a bone bruise and a strain PCL in his left knee. Mitchell is the leading scorer for the Jazz at 18.9 per contest, which leads all NBA rookies.
“I was just trying to make the right reads,” Mitchell said after the Kings game. “There were a bunch of times I could’ve kept going to the basket, but instead finding guys who are open. I’m learning a lot from when Ricky (Rubio) does that.”
Hood came off the bench to add 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Jazz. Ingles and Derrick Favors each had 14 points while Rubio contributed nine points, seven assists, and four steals. The Jazz stopped a two-game losing streak.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 26 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one blocked shot for the Kings (13-31). Bogdan Bogdanovic added 25 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal. He also made all of six of his 3-point shot attempts.
Rookie De’Aaron Fox had six poins, four assists, and one blocked shot. Fox missed 5 of 6 shots from the field and he fouled out of the ball game in 36 minutes.
Despite losing six games in a row, the Kings shot 52.8 percent from the floor and they made 13 of 21 shots from beyond the arc. Sacramento fell behind 67-47 in the third quarter when the Jazz were scoring at a high clip.
“We just weren’t scoring,” Fox said. “They wen on some runs and it was hard to answer.”
Joerger’s so-called Etch A Sketch plan to sit at least two veterans the rest of the way started with the benching of Garrett Temple and Vince Carter. For the Utah game, that left the door open for Malachi Richardson and Justin Jackson to get floor time.
The team is changing direction in how it will handle the personnel, but Joerger said the Kings are going to have to add a little toughness to their game.
“I told them we need to play with more life,” Joerger said. “We need to play with more athleticism and we need to play with more nasty. We got a really nice bunch of guys and they really work hard. But we’ve got to try to find some of those other degrees in there.”
Frank missed his six-consecutive game with partial tear of right plantar fascia. Skal Labissiere also sat for the Utah game with a sore left shoulder.
Center Rudy Gobert misses his 15th game of the season with a left pcl sprain, bone bruise. The Jazz are 4-11 since Gobert has been sidelined during this stretch. He has missed a total of 256 game this season.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.