LOS ANGELES: Andre Drummond #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz on Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. – AFP

LOS ANGELES: An MRI on Donovan Mitchell’s injured ankle showed no structural damage, giving the Utah Jazz some hope that their leading scorer would not be out for long, US media reported on Saturday. Mitchell suffered the right ankle injury in the third quarter of Friday’s 119-111 NBA victory over the Indiana Pacers. Mitchell jumped to thwart a Pacers pass and twisted his ankle as he tried to dodge the leg of Indiana guard Edmond Sumner. He grabbed his ankle, grimaced in pain and raised his hand for the trainer.

“We hope there’s nothing serious, but they’re in the process of doing everything they can to assess that,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said in his Friday post-game comments. Mitchell scored 22 points in 21 minutes of playing time before heading to the trainer room. He has been the Jazz’s leading scorer this season, averaging a career-best 26.5 points per game.

Four starters out
The Jazz, who have the league’s best record at 42-15, were without Mitchell and several of their other starters when they dropped a 127-115 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Saturday. Starters Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley Jr and Derrick Favors sat out to get some added rest after the short turnaround from Friday’s contest. “We’re missing four pretty important guys,” Jazz guard Joe Ingles said. “For most of the game, we did a pretty good job. We were one stop away from winning the game.”

Andre Drummond scored a team-high 27 points as the Lakers got back into the win column with the victory over the Jazz in front of a crowd of 1,700. It was just the second game the Lakers have played at Staples Center since California relaxed its rules on spectators attending sporting events. Dennis Schroder tallied 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 25 points, draining five threes. “We clicked on all cylinders and we didn’t allow adversity to get us out of our game,” Drummond said. “The chemistry is getting there.”

Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 27 points. Ersan Ilyasova finished with 20 points, shooting six of eight from the three-point line. The Lakers, who improved to 4-1 in overtime games this season, were missing their two biggest stars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James Davis was sidelined in February with a calf injury and a right Achilles tendon problem. He has been cleared for “full on-court activity” and is expected to return soon. James is recovering from a high ankle sprain. The two teams play again on Monday at Staples Center.

Later this month, the Lakers will travel to Washington, DC for a game but the team is not expected to visit with US President Joe Biden at the White House. COVID-19 restrictions and a tight game schedule are expected to prevent the team from restoring a tradition of the NBA champs going to the White House that was halted by the players while Donald Trump was the American president, ESPN reported on Saturday. A future meet-and-greet with the 46th US president is expected.

Celtics win sixth straight
In other NBA action, Jayson Tatum scored 44 points and the Boston Celtics withstood Stephen Curry’s 47 point performance on Saturday night to beat the Golden State Warriors 119-114 in an NBA clash between two teams riding winning streaks. Kemba Walker nailed a clutch three pointer with 24 seconds to go as Tatum posted his second highest career scoring total for the Celtics, who won their sixth straight.

Elsewhere, Grayson Allen scored 26 points and drained a career high seven threes to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 128-115 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo, playing in his second game back after an injury rest, finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee, which dropped its fourth straight home game.

Also, league scoring leader Bradley Beal scored 37 points and the Washington Wizards defeated the Detroit Pistons 121-100 to stretch their winning streak to four games. In Chicago, Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points and added seven rebounds with five assists as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-96. – AFP