On Tuesday night, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert sat in the emptiness of Crypto.com Arena, despondently answering questions about Utah’s five-game losing streak, most recently a problematic defeat to the LA Clippers.

As the team leaders, both Mitchell and Gobert openly took the blame for the loss — each promising to be better individually and as a team.

What a difference 48 hours makes.

Led by dominant performances from their two all-stars, Utah got back to its winning ways with an impressive 122-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. With the win, Utah moved into a tie with the Denver Nuggets but own the tiebreaker and sit in fifth place in the Western Conference standings — just two games back of the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors.

“That’s childish, in my opinion,” Mitchell said of finger-pointing. “If we do that, then we’ve got some big problems. We have a group of guys who are seasoned. … So a five-game losing streak, if that’s what breaks us, we’re not who we think we are.”

There’s no way to describe Gobert’s performance against the Lakers other than dominant — which is precisely what he did on both ends of the court.

He finished with a massive double-double of 25 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocks, completely controlling the paint. While his defense is already sensational, Gobert’s offense was the more impressive part as he could dominate with his back to the hoop, an aspect of his game that continues to improve.

“When they went small, I had a few opportunities to just get it down low and then see what happens,” Gobert said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work, so when I get the ball down there, I show that good things can happen.”

But to go from good to great, a running mate is needed — and Mitchell served as the ideal complement to Gobert.

He continued his recent tear of late, finishing with a game-high 29 points, seven assists, and a +17 rating in 32 minutes. His evolution from a shooting guard to a playmaker running the offense continues to impress as he’s emerged as one of the elite guards in the game.

While it’s always great when your stars play well, it’s even better when reinforcements arrive — and that’s what Utah got when Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr. returned to the court on Thursday night.

Although it wasn’t the greatest of shooting nights for either one of them, their mere presence on the court not only lifted up Utah, it allowed them to play the game their way. Bogdanovic’s ability to stretch the floor opened up driving lanes for the guards to penetrate while House continued to excel on the wing defensively.

Following the return of Bogdanovic and House, Utah came out rejuvenated by leading 14-4 early on. After the Lakers cut the deficit to two, the Jazz responded with a 13-4 run before leading 34-28 at the end of one.

The second quarter was a battle of runs, with Utah answering every time Los Angeles made it close.

After the Lakers made it a one-point game early in the second, the Jazz responded with an 11-2 run. Los Angeles later made it a two-point game, but Utah responded with a 14-5 run to take a 66-55 lead at the half.

The third quarter played out very similar to the second, with Los Angeles making a run but the Jazz responding and closing the quarter out strong. After the Lakers cut Utah’s lead to five, the Jazz’s 11-4 run gave them some breathing room entering the fourth.

After losing a double-digit lead two nights ago, Utah made sure history didn’t repeat itself as the Jazz took control in the fourth and never took their foot off the pedal.

Jordan Clarkson finished with 19 points, while Mike Conley added 18 points and four assists.

Utah hits the road again for a massive showdown on Saturday night with the Golden State Warriors — a game with massive postseason implications. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MST.


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