Bojan Bogdanovic put his stamp on a season-high 32-point performance with seven three-pointers as the under-manned Utah Jazz claimed their 11th straight win by cruising to a 120-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Starting guard Mike Conley finished with 22 points and nine assists, France’s Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Jordan Clarkson came off the bench to score 18 points for the Jazz, who drained 20 baskets from beyond the arc for their ninth straight game with 15 or more three pointers.
“We want to be unselfish, help each other on both ends of the floor,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I think we’re covering for each other, our communication defensively. The game can be simple if you let it be.”
Utah was playing without two of its best players Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors. It was their second straight contest without all-star Mitchell, who remains in the NBA’s concussion protocol after being hurt Tuesday against New York.
Luka Doncic tallied 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but Dallas lost for the fourth time in a row. The Mavs return home for a Saturday game against Phoenix having lost seven of nine games.
Elsewhere, all-stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 50 points in their return from the Covid-19 unavailable list as the Los Angeles Clippers routed the Orlando Magic 116-90.
George finished with a team-high 26 points and nine rebounds while Leonard tallied 24 points for the Clippers, who continued their dominance over the Magic by winning their 14th straight contest in a stretch dating back seven years.
“Just having their presence was huge for us,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “We needed those guys tonight. I thought our team was a little tired, but we fought through it.”
Leonard and George had been out of the lineup since Monday and did not join the team at the start of their current six-game road trip. They were both cleared to play earlier Friday at Amway Center arena in Orlando.
“It was good,” George said of the added rest. “I took care of my body and rested. I just chilled and relaxed in the house with my family.”
In their absence, the Clippers were 1-1, losing 108-99 to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and defeating the Heat in Miami on Thursday 109-105.
The Clippers, who were still missing Patrick Beverley with a sore knee, lead the Pacific Division with a 15-5 record.
Nikola Vucevic was the only Magic player to reach double figures but the Clippers held him to just 10 points, well below his 23-point season average.
“Coming in we made it a focal point to stop him,” George said of Vucevic. “We didn’t want him to get started early. We did a great job on him.”
Young casts spell over Wizards
Elsewhere, Atlanta’s Trae Young scored 41 points to lead the Hawks to a 116-100 victory over the Wizards in Washington, where three players were ejected from a chippy contest.
Washington, who never led after the first minute, were down by 18 when point guard Russell Westbrook was tossed after receiving his second technical foul for shoving Hawks guard Rajon Rondo.
Westbrook and Rondo had both received technicals after jawing late in the first half. Rondo, who waved goodbye to Westbrook as he departed the court, was ejected with 5:08 to play.
Washington centre Robin Lopez was also ejected, receiving two quick technicals while on the bench for comments to officials after a delay of game call on teammate Bradley Beal – the NBA scoring leader who was held to a season-low 26 points by the Hawks.
“I have to figure out how to better lead these guys,” said Westbrook.
In New Orleans, Lonzo Ball scored a season-best 27-points and the New Orleans Pelicans went wire-to-wire to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 131-126.
Brandon Ingram scored 28 points, and Zion Williamson had 21 points, nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists for the Pelicans, who made 21 of 48 three pointers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points and 11 rebounds, and former Pelican Jrue Holiday scored 22 for Milwaukee, which trailed nearly the entire game after trying but failing to erase a 28 point deficit in the final 17 minutes.
Elsewhere, James Harden had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 147-125 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.