Donovan Mitchell drops 46 points in return to Utah, but Jazz get the win

Tuesday night provided Utah Jazz fans a familiar sight: Donovan Mitchell going off in a Jazz win.

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

The game began with Mitchell receiving a warm reception as he took the floor, complete 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 back-and-forth game followed, but the Jazz leading by double-digits in the third quarter but the Cavaliers taking a seven-point lead in the fourth when Mitchell delivered 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 got going. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year scored nine straight points to push Utah into a commanding lead, which they did not lose. Seven of those points came on a single possession, when Clarkson made a 3-pointer, got a free throw and possession on a Caris LeVert flagrant foul, then drew another foul on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws.

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

The win pushes the Jazz's record up to 21-23, which remains well above preseason expectations for a team that traded Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. It was pretty much the perfect night for Jazz fans, getting to see their departed 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 Cavaliers loss. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)