LOS ANGELES (AP) — After going 9-12 through the first two months of the season, the Utah Jazz are moving up.
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points in Utah’s 129-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night for its first five-game winning streak of the season.
Mitchell, coming off Western Conference player of the week honors, has averaged 30.3 points over his last six games.
The Jazz are 8-2 in their last 10, matching Golden State’s record as the best in the West over that stretch.
“Nothing’s different. We’re just a bit more focused,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t overreact at the beginning of the year. We just knew if we kept being persistent and doing what we do, there’d be no problem.”
Jae Crowder added 23 points, Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 22 rebounds for his 37th double-double of the season and Kyle Korver had 19 points for the Jazz, who had six players in double figures. Utah shot 51 percent from the floor.
“Our defense was just god-awful,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “That just can’t happen.”
Leading by 16 to start the fourth, Utah got three consecutive 3-pointers, two by Korver and one by Mitchell, to go up 104-81.
Lou Williams scored 10 of the Clippers’ next 13 points to draw them to 107-92.
The Jazz made 30 of 37 free throws, while the Clippers were 9 of 14.
“We’ve been playing pretty good defense and haven’t shot the ball as well as we want to and tonight we shot it really well,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “Guys were moving the ball and sharing it and finding the open man.”
Williams finished with 23 points off the bench to lead the Clippers, who have lost four straight for the second time this season. Tobias Harris added 17 points and Avery Bradley 15 points.
“We had some slippage,” Williams said. “Everybody goes through their ruts. You take your lumps and get ready for the next one.”
Los Angeles rallied in the second, getting within one on a 3-pointer by Bradley. But Utah answered with an 8-2 run to go into halftime leading 56-49.
Jazz: They improved to 8-7 on the road against Western Conference teams. … The lineup of Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, Favors and Gobert improved to 4-0 together.
Clippers: Rivers got a technical early in the fourth. … They also dropped four straight from Dec. 11-17.
Georges Niang came up with a huge block of Patrick Beverley at the net early in the second.
“It might be the play of the year, so far. I didn’t think he was going to get it,” said O’Neale, who turned and asked Niang if he surprised himself.
“I did, I did,” Niang replied. “I thought I was going to get the backboard but then I got the ball.”
Jazz: Host Cleveland on Friday.
Clippers: Host Golden State on Friday. LA won the first matchup 121-116 in overtime on Nov. 12.