Jazz comeback overshadowed by Mitchell scare
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Los Angeles (AFP) –
The Utah Jazz battled back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Indiana Pacers on Friday in a victory overshadowed by an injury to star playmaker Donovan Mitchell.
Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 24 points and French star Rudy Gobert delivered a towering defensive display with 23 rebounds as the Jazz dug deep to score a 119-111 victory.
But the win came at a cost for the Western Conference leaders, who lost Mitchell with an injury to his lower right leg in the second half.
The 24-year-old talisman landed awkwardly as he jumped for a loose ball in a challenge with Indiana's Edmond Sumner midway through the third quarter with the Jazz trailing 74-65.
Mitchell needed to be helped to his feet and was led from the court hobbling gingerly with the support of two Jazz staff.
ESPN later reported that Mitchell would undergo an MRI scan later Friday, the team saying the initial diagnosis was a right ankle sprain.
With Mitchell off the court, Utah turned around what had looked set to be a losing performance at Salt Lake City's Vivint Arena.
The decisive passage of play came in the fourth quarter when a Joe Ingles three-pointer put Utah up 101-99.
Five quick points from Bogdnaovic made it 106-99 and then Jordan Clarkson drained a jumper to make it 108-99 to give Utah a cushion they held onto through the closing minutes.
"They came out punching," Gobert said. "We had to restart. We didn't play great defense in the first half. We just raised our level.
"I think I was a little soft in the first half. I just tried to raise my level. That's usually the way I am. I need to start better.
"Unfortunately we lost Donovan -- hopefully it's not something bad -- but I'm proud of the way we kept fighting for the game," added Gobert, who finished with 13 points.
Mitchell, meanwhile, had accumulated 22 points before he left the game, while Clarkson added a valuable 18 off the bench.
Caris LeVert led the Indiana scoring with 24 points while Domantas Sabonis added 22 points with 15 rebounds.
Utah's win came on the same day the club announced NBA legend Dwyane Wade had joined the team as a part-owner.
Gobert said the arrival of the three-time NBA Finals winner was an exciting development for the title-chasing franchise.
"I wasn't expecting that at all to be honest," Gobert said. "It's great. It's great for the culture. D-Wade is a winner. Wherever he goes he brings a winning culture. It's exciting to have him on board. It can only be positive for the organization."
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