Any concern Utah Jazz fans had through three games about second year guard Donovan Mitchell were quickly wiped away against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. After consecutive slow starts to the season that saw Mitchell score just two points in three combined first quarters, Mitchell scored 11 points on the road and the Jazz coasted to a 100-89 win on the road.
Mitchell finished with 38 points, after a 20 point first half, and the Jazz strayed unbeaten on the road through the team’s first two road trips.
The Jazz rising star had it going both inside and out, finishing with a series of crafty scoop shots, floaters, and from behind the arch, as Mitchell connected on 4 of his 9 three point attempts. Mitchell finished 14 of 25 from the floor, and added seven assists and five rebounds, rounding out his most efficient night of the season so far. Mitchell is averaging just under 24 points per game early in the season.
But while Mitchell seems to have found his groove, Ricky Rubio’s early season troubles continue. Rubio finished with four points on 1 of 8 shooting, with six assists, but six turnovers. Rubio has traditionally started seasons slowly, and appears to have continued with that trend for a second straight season in Utah.
As long as Rubio can regain his form from late last season at some point this season, the Jazz shouldn’t feel much urgency to replace him, nor do they have the personnel, but improved play from the pass first guard could help ease the burden on Mitchell, better preserving him for the postseason.
The Jazz now travel to New Orleans to take on the New Orleans Pelicans who are 3-0 to start the season.