April 23 (UPI) — Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell erupted in the fourth quarter and scored 19 of his 31 points in the final frame of Game 4 of the first-round series.
Mitchell’s late-game performance helped the Jazz avoid a sweep at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets. The second-year guard struggled earlier in the contest with two turnovers in the opening two minutes. He shot only 36 percent from the field in the first three quarters before going 6-for-12 in the fourth.
The Jazz opened the fourth quarter with a 15-1 run and outscored the Rockets 31-12 during the period. Mitchell, using a flurry of 3-pointers, scored 13 points in three minutes to fuel the run. He scored only 12 points in the first three quarters.
Mitchell gave the Jazz a 91-80 lead with 9:02 remaining after back-to-back 3-pointers. He capped his performance with a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk after catching an inaccurate pass from Royce O’Neale.
Mitchell shot 11-of-26 from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point territory, in the Jazz’s 107-91 victory Monday night. He added seven rebounds, four assists and one steal in 40 minutes.
Jae Crowder had 23 points, four rebounds and an assist. Ricky Rubio notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists. Derrick Favors had 12 points and O’Neale had 11 off the bench.
Harden led the Rockets with 30 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Point guard Chris Paul had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes. Eric Gordon shot 50 percent from 3-point range and tallied 16 points. PJ Tucker added 13 points and six boards.
Game 5 of the Western Conference series is in Houston on Wednesday night.