The Utah Jazz beat the Chicago Bulls 125-110 on Wednesday night at Vivint Arena behind an electric Donovan Mitchell performance in which he scored 25 of his 37 points in the third quarter.

High notes

  • Donovan Mitchell came up pretty short on his first look from beyond the arc and things seemed a little forced through the first quarter as he finished just 2 of 5 from the field. But Mitchell backed off in the second quarter, deferring to his teammates and allowing others who had more of a rhythm to carry the offensive load and on top of that he was in foul trouble. Mitchell only took two shots in the second quarter. Then, after halftime, Mitchell caught fire and scored an incredible 25 points (a career-high for points in a quarter) while hitting seven 3-pointers in the third quarter alone. He closed out the game with 37.
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I think what’s more important than how many points he scored was the fact that he was completely in tune with his game, how those around him were performing and making good decisions. There are certainly times when Mitchell still forces, even when he doesn’t need to and when it’s not wise. It’s one of the few flaws in his game. The more that he is able to dictate his game around flow and is able to involve his teammates the better the evolution of his game will be. Even more so, that’s something that is going to be crucial in playoff situations. Making weighty and important decisions in a game and as things change is one of the things that differentiates the winners and the losers in the postseason.
“I didn’t know it was 25, it didn’t feel like it. Felt like I could have just kept going. The biggest thing was trying to find ways not just to hit shots but also execute the game — not just because you’re hot take wild 3s or whatever.” — Mitchell

Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s opportunities have been limited, but with a chance for some more time on the court against the Bulls, he came into the game and stayed due to his attention to detail on the defensive end and then helped the Jazz win the fourth quarter because of his combined defensive effort and his ability to score. There was no selfishness and no attempt to try to take over, just pretty seamless reading of the defense and turning it on when he was tasked with defending. After making a big defensive play late in the game, the crowd at Vivint gave NAW a standing ovation, and he capped off the night with 16 points, four rebounds and two steals.
“He came in defending. We talked about how he’s got some size, where he’s able to guard a few positions. He was focused on defense, and that was he was playing well before he was able to knock down some shots.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • Jordan Clarkson and Royce O’Neale also helped the offense to the tune of a combined 35 points on Wednesday, but the things that they were doing on that end weren’t surprising. Clarkson attacks and gets hot from outside — we know he can do that. O’Neale knocks down shots — we know he can do that. But both were pretty instrumental in transition on the defensive end and held up a pretty hefty load against a Chicago team that has a lot of weapons. Yes, DeMar DeRozan had 25 and Zach LaVine had 33, but like I’ve said many times about many other players — those are guys who are going to score no matter what, it’s about how they score and how hard they have to work for it. There were many others on the Jazz that helped out in this, but I thought Clarkson and O’Neale deserved a shout for their efforts.
  • Juancho Hernangomez got the start on Wednesday with Bojan Bogdanovic, Danuel House Jr. and Trent Forrest all sidelined. Though he’s not going to be the player that pops on the boxscore, Hernangomez made a lot of big effort plays in his minutes. He fought for rebounds and made great outlet passes. He missed the shots he took, but he only took three shots so it’s not like there’s really anything to be mad at.

Low notes

  • There’s certainly going to be those who feel like after seeing Hernangomez and Alexander-Walker perform well for the Jazz, that they deserve more time in the regular rotation. The same goes for Eric Paschall, who did not get the same chance on Wednesday. I understand that there have been flashes here and there of what these players can do, but I feel like it’s necessary to say that expectations need to be tempered. These players, while great in their roles in these opportunities, will not be who the Jazz coaching staff relies on when the games really matter. As frustrating as that might be for a fan, it’s important to remember that experience and trust are what teams rely on in pressure situations and it’s what the Jazz will rely on. Not so much a low note here as much as it is a note to call for understanding what’s to come.

Flat notes

  • A definite high note for the Jazz was an obviously horrible one for the Bulls. There’s no shame in being on the wrong side of a good performance, and there’s no shame in being frustrated if you feel like you aren’t at your best in those moments. That’s kind of what basketball is. But the Bulls allowed themselves to become visibly shaken, and all that does is signal to the opposition that you’re feeling weak. It makes it easier for the other team to go in for the kill. When Mitchell was going off in the third quarter, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan was beside himself, imploring his team to get the ball out of Mitchell’s hands, and the Bulls seemed not to have any concrete answer. Then when Alexander-Walker and O’Neale were making the defense pay in the fourth quarter, Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan were hanging their heads and hitting the stanchion and showed their frustration. For the Jazz, it made closing out the game easier than it should have been.