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    Donovan Mitchell heats up early, finishes strong as Jazz nip Thunder

    Oct 24, 2019
    Donovan Mitchell eludes the defense of Terrance Ferguson.
    PHOTO: ap

    SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell had 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz over the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-95 on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time) in the season opener for both teams.

    Mitchell scored 22 after halftime and made several key baskets down the stretch. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 points and Royce O'Neale chipped in with 14 for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert grabbed 14 rebounds.

    Mike Conley went 1 of 16 from the field in his Utah debut after spending his first 12 seasons with Memphis. He missed his first 12 shots before finally scoring on a floater in the lane with 5.9 seconds left in the third quarter.

    The Jazz outscored the Thunder 58-34 in the paint to offset 6-of-24 shooting from 3-point range.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shined in his Oklahoma City debut, scoring 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting. Chris Paul added 22 points and eight rebounds. Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and seven boards.

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    Oklahoma City built an eight-point lead early in the fourth before the Jazz finally rallied. Utah surged ahead 85-80 on a 9-0 run capped by Bogdanovic's 3-pointer.

    Paul capped a 6-0 spurt with a long jumper of his own to put the Thunder ahead 86-85. Mitchell answered by slashing into the lane for back-to-back layups to put the Jazz ahead for good.

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    A mid-range jumper from Mitchell gave Utah a 96-91 lead with 21 seconds remaining.

    Oklahoma City missed nine of its first 11 shots and hit just 23.8% (5 of 21) overall from the floor in the first quarter. Those shooting struggles opened the door for Utah to sprint out to a 23-10 lead. Starting with a jumper from Joe Ingles, the Jazz scored baskets on four straight possessions to carve out a double-digit advantage.

    The Thunder made a pair of 8-0 runs to tie the game at 28 in the second period. They finally took their first lead after Gilgeous-Alexander made three straight baskets to fuel a 9-2 spurt. Paul capped it with a pair of free throws, giving Oklahoma City a 46-42 lead.

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    Utah answered with a 7-0 run — punctuated by a thunderous dunk from Mitchell — to go ahead 49-46 at halftime.


    Thunder: Oklahoma City went 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the second quarter. . Darius Bazley finished with zero points and three rebounds in his NBA debut. . Steven Adams pulled down 11 rebounds but finished with just three points after shooting 1 of 8 from the field and 1 of 6 from the line.

    Jazz: Bogdanovic went to the locker room midway through the second quarter after injuring his ankle. He returned in the third. . Utah finished with an 18-7 edge in fast-break points.


    Thunder: Host the Washington Wizards on Friday.

    Jazz: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

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    Donovan Mitchell eludes the defense of Terrance Ferguson.
    PHOTO: ap
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