SALT LAKE CITY — Faith became the keyword in Quin Snyder’s postgame press conference. The Utah Jazz coach talked about his faith in rookie Donovan Mitchell, his faith in Ricky Rubio and his faith in his team.
Mitchell scored a career-high 28 points and the Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 112-103 in overtime Wednesday night.
The game was tight throughout, with 17 lead changes and 14 ties — and neither team ever leading by double-digits.
“The game wasn’t real fluid for either team offensively early on,” Snyder said. “We hung in there and didn’t get discouraged. As the game progressed, were much more aggressive.
“You have faith in someone when they’re not playing well. That’s what we have to have in this team.”
The Jazz ran their offense through Mitchell in overtime and he didn’t disappoint. The No. 12 overall pick accounted for the first six Utah points with a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and Rudy Gobert’s two free throws that Mitchell set up with a pass to the cutting big man.
“I didn’t think it would happen this fast,” Mitchell said. “It was definitely surreal. Plays ran for me, just a matter of hitting the shots.”
Rubio, who finished with a season-high 30 points, buried a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 30.9 seconds left in overtime to give the Jazz a seven-point lead and put the game away.
The two Utah guards were fantastic down the stretch after the Jazz struggled on the offensive end.
“Each thing has to be better and a little bit sharper,” Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. “We can take pressure off each other by screening a little bit better, throwing better passes on time and on target.
“I think part of it is our execution. We’ve got to get to our spots, we’ve got to scrape for each other, we’ve got to sprint and make hard cuts and just be strong with the ball.”
Lillard put the Blazers on his shoulders in the fourth quarter, but was kept in relative check in overtime. The two-time All Star finished with 33 points, and Jusuf Nurkic had a season-high 19 points.
The Blazers cleared out for Lillard on the final possession of regulation, but Gobert blocked his floater as time expired.
“When you have a six-point lead, or whatever we had, with two or three minutes to go,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, “you’ve got to make the plays to hold the lead and come out with a win. We didn’t do that.”