Jazz clinch playoff spot in crowded Western Conference

Sunday , April 08, 2018 - 7:01 PM

By ALEX VEJAR Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to help the Utah Jazz clinch a playoff berth with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Utah is the fourth team in the crowded Western Conference to lock up a postseason spot, with five teams still in the running for the other four positions before the regular season ends Wednesday.

Mitchell also had nine rebounds and eight assists, and Joe Ingles had 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting along with 10 assists. Jae Crowder added 18 points off the bench.

Josh Hart had 25 points for Los Angeles, which has lost six of eight. Julius Randle had 17 points and seven rebounds.

A basket by Royce O’Neale put Utah up 98-76 in the opening four minutes of the fourth quarter. The shot marked Utah’s largest lead of the game.

Mitchell threw a full-court pass to a streaking Ingles for a layup and a 66-56 lead with 5:44 remaining in the third. Utah led 82-67 when O’Neale made a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds to go in the quarter.

Tyler Ennis made a scoop shot that pulled Los Angeles within 32-30 during the second quarter, but Utah regained a 12-point lead with help from two 3-pointers by Crowder. The Lakers closed the half on 6-2 run and trailed by only six.

The Jazz started the game on a 7-0 run and extended the lead to 19-4 with Mitchell’s 3-pointer in transition. Los Angeles answered with a 10-0 spurt and closed within four with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Beat the Lakers 117-110 on April 3. ... Five players scored in double figures. ... Derrick Favors had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Lakers: Three of the five starters did not make a field goal in the first half. ... Kyle Kuzma did not play due to a mild left ankle sprain.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Host Golden State on Tuesday.

Lakers: Host Houston on Tuesday.

More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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