Donovan Mitchell, Jazz turn back comeback-minded Bulls
Donovan Mitchell returned to Utah’s lineup Friday night after missing a game for personal reasons and scored 26 points to lead the red-hot Jazz to a 113-106 win over the Chicago Bulls in Salt Lake City.
Mitchell scored eight straight points for the Jazz before Royce O’Neale wrapped up the scoring with two late free throws as Utah won its eighth consecutive game and its franchise-record 21st straight at home.
The previous record was set over the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.
Rudy Gobert added 19 points and 13 rebounds for Utah. Jordan Clarkson poured in 19 points, including three 3-pointers, off the bench, and Bojan Bogdanovic contributed 18 points and eight boards. Mike Conley added 13 points and five assists.
— NBA (@NBA) April 3, 2021
The Bulls lost for the second time in three days against the top two teams in the Western Conference. Two nights after falling to the host Phoenix Suns 121-116, the Bulls made Utah earn this game down the stretch by nearly storming back from a 17-point deficit early in the fourth quarter.
Thaddeus Young led Chicago with 25 points and sparked a fourth-quarter run that set the stage for a tight finish. That spurt was made while All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic were on the bench, but they both returned to help pull Chicago within striking distance.
LaVine hit a 3-pointer that made it a five-point game with just under three minutes to go, and then Vucevic drained a 3-pointer with 26.7 seconds remaining to cut Utah’s lead to 109-106.
Mitchell and O’Neale hit four free throws in the closing moments to seal the win for Utah, which made 26 of 27 from the line.
Mitchell hit all 10 of his free-throw attempts and soared for the dunk of night, late in the fourth quarter over Bulls center Daniel Theis, after opting to not fly to Memphis with the Jazz after the team charter was forced to return to Utah after sustaining engine damage from hitting a flock of birds.
LaVine scored 23 after missing the game in Phoenix with a right ankle sprain, and Vucevic totaled 16 points and eight rebounds, but the Bulls still dropped their sixth straight and eighth in nine games.