Adam Fondren, Deseret News
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) attempts to dunk over New Orleans Pelicans guard Tony Allen (24) as Utah hosts New Orleans at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — The legend of Donovan Mitchell reached new heights Friday night at Vivint Arena.
The rookie from Louisville, who has wowed Jazz fans many times already this season, put on a dazzling show as he nearly single-handedly willed the Jazz to a 114-108 victory over New Orleans.
Mitchell scored 41 points, breaking the Jazz rookie record of 38 set by another Louisville grad, Darrell Griffith. He also became the first Jazz player in five seasons to score at least 40 points and the first rookie in the NBA to score 40 points since Blake Griffin in 2010.
Mitchell scored 29 of his points in the second half, including 17 in the decisive fourth quarter when the Jazz came back from a six-point deficit in the final five minutes to win by six.
When Mitchell was interviewed for television on the court after the game, the crowd was still on his feet cheering and drowning out most of his words on the loudspeaker.
Mitchell said he “couldn’t stop smiling” and was “speechless,” but he made up for it later by sitting next to his locker and talking about his big game for some 20 minutes to the large group of media folks.
“This is crazy,” said Mitchell, who downplayed his own accomplishment by talking about the team win. “We love to compete. We came out in the second half ready to defend and ready to guard. When you have teammates like that who want to compete, that’s the type of team you want to play for.”
While Mitchell didn’t want to talk too much about his own accomplishment much, plenty of other folks did.
“That was amazing,” said Derrick Favors, who had a solid game himself with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “He went out there and played an excellent game. He was aggressive the whole night. We kept giving him the ball and kept telling him to go and make the play.”
Jazz forward Jonas Jerebko said, “I’ve been…