Mitchell sizzles, Clarkson debuts as Jazz hold off Blazers
LOS ANGELES, USA – Utah's Donovan Mitchell unleashed 28 of his 35 points in the second half as the Jazz withstood a furious fourth-quarter surge by Portland in a 121-115 victory over the Trail Blazers in the NBA on Thursday, December 26 (Friday, December 27, Philippine time).
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 34 points and CJ McCollum added 25. That included 17 in the 4th quarter when Portland, who trailed by 23 late in the 3rd, cut the deficit to 103-102 with less than 5 minutes remaining.
Utah's two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, who scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, harried Carmelo Anthony into an air ball with 22.4 seconds remaining and blocked Lillard's driving shot with 5.2 seconds to play as the Jazz held on for their fifth win in 6 games.
Aussie guard Joe Ingles scored 26 points for the Jazz and Jordan Clarkson had 9 in his first game for Utah since arriving via a trade from Cleveland on Tuesday.
Clarkson, shipped to the Jazz in exchange for former No. 5 overall pick Dante Exum and two future second-round picks, was tapped to boost Utah’s struggling second unit.
The 27-year-old averaged 14.6 points per game this season and just came off a season-high 33 points to lead Cleveland over Memphis.
Timberwolves arrest 11-game slide
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended their 11-game losing streak with 105-104 double-overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points with 10 rebounds and 7 assists for the Timberwolves, who were again without injured Karl-Anthony Towns.
Gorgui Dieng scored 21 points with 15 rebounds and Robert Covington scored 19 for the Timberwolves, who opened the second overtime with a 6-0 scoring run.
In Detroit, the Pistons snapped a five-game skid with a 132-102 rout of the Washington Wizards.
Detroit matched their season high for points as they turned the tables on a team that has beaten them twice already this season.
Christian Wood led the Pistons with 22 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Tim Frazier added 17 points and 6 assists, Blake Griffin scored 14 points with 11 rebounds and Andre Drummond added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Detroit, up 68-48 at halftime, outscored the Wizards, 38-28, in the 3rd to put the game away, giving coach Dwane Casey a chance to rest players – including the banged-up Griffin – in the 4th quarter. – Rappler.com