NBA regular season

Donovan Mitchell, Jazz turn back comeback-minded Bulls

Donovan Mitchell, Jazz turn back comeback-minded Bulls

TIGHT. Bulls forward Patrick Williams chases Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in the final minute of the game.

Photo by Rob Gray/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The league-leading Jazz survive the Bulls’ huge rally to set a franchise-record 21 straight wins at home

Donovan Mitchell returned to Utah’s lineup Friday night, April 2 (Saturday, April 3, Manila time), in Salt Lake City 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.

Mitchell scored 8 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 for a league-best 37-11 record.

The previous record was set over the 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 seasons, the years when Utah made their only trips to the NBA Finals.

Rudy Gobert added 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson poured in 19 points, including 3 three-pointers, off the bench for the Jazz.

Bojan Bogdanovic also contributed 18 points and 8 boards for Utah and Mike Conley added 13 points and 5 assists.

The Bulls lost for the second time in 3 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 4th 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 three-pointer that made it a five-point game with just under 3 minutes to go, and then Vucevic drained a triple with 26.7 seconds remaining to cut Utah’s lead to 109-106.

Mitchell and O’Neale hit 4 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 4th 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 8 rebounds, but the Bulls still dropped their sixth straight and eighth in 9 games. –