Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell goes to the basket for a dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 31, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and Rudy Gobert had 25 points and 17 rebounds as the Utah Jazz snapped a five-game losing streak with a 122-109 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points, Mike Conley added 18 and Bojan Bogdanovic 11 in his return from injury as the Jazz continued their fight to stay out of a Western Conference play-in game.
Utah led wire-to-wire, the fourth game of the season in which it never trailed. But, the Lakers stayed within striking distance until Gobert slammed down Mitchell’s miss to make it 120-104 with 2:54 to play.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who were without LeBron James (ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (foot sprain). Howard even hit a step-back 3-pointer as he reached double figures for the second time in his last 12 games.
Lakers have dropped five of six and are 4-14 since beating the Jazz on Feb. 16.
Utah’s losing streak included a demoralizing defeat in which it blew a 25-point lead against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. The Jazz have lost 14 games this season in which they held double-digit leads.
When the Lakers closed to 113-103 on Talen Horton-Tucker’s 3-pointer, a audible nervous buzz grew among the Jazz faithful as they anticipated another collapse. But, Lakers couldn’t consistently get enough stops to make it interesting.
Both teams have been weighed down by disappointing losses and unrealized expectations. Some of the dropoff has been due to injuries, as James has missed three of the Lakers’ last four games and Davis has been out for 18 games.
Utah’s losing ways have corresponded with Bogdanovic’s nine-game absence with a calf strain and House’s knee bruise. Hassan Whiteside has also been out with a foot sprain during three games of the skid and missed the Lakers game.
The Jazz were able to get into transition and outscored Los Angeles 14-2 on fast breaks. Not only did the Jazz stymie the Lakers on the move, they took away the perimeter shots as Los Angeles made just seven 3-pointers.
The Jazz are 28-11 on the season when they have their starting lineup of Conley, Mitchell, Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Gobert.
Lakers: Trevor Ariza had a season-high two blocked shots. … The Lakers went 34 for 58 from 2-point range. … Malik Monk scored 14 and Carmelo Anthony added 12.
Jazz: Utah had one turnover in the first quarter, which came with 17.6 seconds left. … Gobert, who had been barking at the officials all game, finally got a technical in the third quarter. … The Jazz, who aim to get up 40-plus 3-point attempts a game, made 15 of 44 from beyond the arc.
Lakers: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
Jazz: Visit the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.