SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell had 46 points on his return to Utah, but the Jazz rallied late behind Jordan Clarkson to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-114 on Tuesday night.
Clarkson scored 32 points, including five 3-pointers, and poured out nine right on the stretch to fuel a crucial 13-0 run.
Lauri Markkanen had 25 points and 16 rebounds against his former team for the Jazz. Malik Beasley, Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker each added 13 as Utah won for the second time in nine games.
Mitchell, who spent his first five seasons with the Jazz, also had six assists, five rebounds and three steals. The three-time All-Star traded to Cleveland in September for a blockbuster package with Markkanen.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Mitchell is the seventh player in NBA history with 40 or more points in his first away game against a former team. Of those seven players, he’s only the second to lose; the other was Nick Van Exel in his first game in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Tuesday marked Mitchell’s fifth 40-point game of the season, already a career high.
Mitchell set a Cleveland record with 71 points on Jan. 2, the most by an NBA player in 17 years, as the Cavaliers rallied to beat Chicago in overtime.
Darius Garland added 21 points and six assists for Cleveland in the event. Evan Mobley and Caris LeVert each scored 12 points.
Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen played just seven minutes – all in the first quarter – before leaving with an illness.
Cleveland fell 13 behind in the second half, but was able to eliminate the deficit and finally recoup it midway through the fourth quarter. Mitchell made three straight baskets to punctuate an 11-0 run and give Cleveland a 101-94 lead. Utah missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the fourth quarter, opening the door for the Cavaliers to get back in front.
But the Jazz rose to a 115-107 lead by 23.1 seconds after Clarkson had nine straight points on three possessions.
Mitchell kept the Cavaliers’ offense afloat in the first half while his teammates struggled to find their shot. He scored or assisted in 10 of Cleveland’s 19 prior to halftime.
As Mitchell cooled off in the third quarter, Utah held a double-digit lead with seven straight possessions. Clarkson made three straight baskets and assisted another to pull off a 13-2 sprint that put the Jazz at 78-65.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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