Donovan Mitchell drops 46 points in return to Utah, but Jazz wins

On Tuesday night, Utah Jazz fans were treated to a familiar sight: Donovan Mitchell picked up a Jazz win.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star had 46 points, six assists and no turnovers in his return to Vivint Arena, but the Jazz took the win 116-114 thanks to a huge night from Jordan Clarkson in stride.

The match started with Mitchell receiving a warm welcome as he took the floor, with a video tribute from the team that traded him last offseason for Lauri Markannen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji and a boatload of draft capital:

A home-and-away game followed, but the Jazz led by double digits in the third quarter but the Cavaliers took a seven-point lead in the fourth when Mitchell went on a personal 10-0 run.

Cleveland should have had the game from there, holding a five-point lead with three minutes remaining.

And then Clarkson left. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year scored nine straight points to push Utah into a commanding lead, which they didn’t lose. Seven of those points came on a single possession, when Clarkson made a 3-pointer, got a free throw and a possession on a flagrant foul from Caris LeVert, then drew another foul on a 3-point attempt and made the three free throws.

Clarkson finished with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Markannen also played big against the star he was traded for, posting 25 points with 16 rebounds.

The win brings the Jazz’s record to 21-23, still well above preseason expectations for a team that traded Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. It was pretty much the perfect night for jazz fans, who got to see their late star at his best while showing there’s still something to their team without him.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots as Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Donovan Mitchell had a night to remember, even in a loss to the Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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