Donovan Mitchell said the Clippers would fold in crunch-time, then made it happen


The Utah Jazz had climbed out of a 13-point halftime deficit to tie the rating going into the fourth quarter in Sport 1 of their Western Convention semifinal matchup towards the Los Angeles Clippers within the 2021 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday. Donovan Mitchell was the catalyst, bouncing again from an inefficient first half to torch the nets within the third and put Utah in place to steal the win.

As the sport headed into the fourth quarter, Mitchell — who was carrying a microphone all through the sport for TNT — was caught telling teammate Joe Ingles that LA would fold if the Jazz pressed them initially of the ultimate interval.

“They performed a Sport 7 two days in the past,” Mitchell stated. “It’s all how we begin this quarter. They’ll name it quits and prepare for Sport 2 if we make them.”

Mitchell would end a driving layup for an and-one to attain Utah’s first factors of the interval. He hit a step-back three a pair possessions later to place the Jazz up three, and provides them a lead they’d by no means give up.

The Jazz received, 112-109, to take a 1-0 lead over the Clippers within the second spherical matchup. Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic every scored 18 factors, and Rudy Gobert made a game-saving block on the buzzer on a Marcus Morris three-pointer that would have tied the sport. That Utah received this sport with out Mike Conley, who was out with a hamstring harm, makes it much more spectacular.

The Jazz earned the No. 1 seed within the Western Convention and completed with the very best net-rating within the NBA with an egalitarian method that concerned each member of the staff, and this sport was no totally different to an extent. However when the Jazz needed to dig deep to seek out offense, it was Mitchell who grew to become the star of the present.

Mitchell completed with 45 factors and 5 assists on 16-of-30 taking pictures from the ground and 6-of-15 taking pictures from three. In what’s changing into a pattern within the 24-year-old’s quick profession, Mitchell is taking his sport to new heights within the playoffs:

It’s the fourth time Mitchell has scored 40 or extra factors in his 28 profession playoff video games, tying Karl Malone for essentially the most in Jazz historical past. Malone, the NBA’s second all-time main scorer, wanted 149 video games to do it.

Mitchell is averaging 28.1. factors per sport within the playoffs over his profession, which places him in actually elite firm. His playoff numbers are method up throughout the board when in comparison with his common season numbers.

Mitchell was additionally proper in regards to the Clippers. Los Angeles wanted seven video games to advance previous the Dallas Mavericks after the sequence in an 0-2 gap. The Clippers’ decisive Sport 7 victory over Dallas occurred within the early afternoon hours of Sunday, giving LA each quick relaxation and a brief preparation window earlier than Sport 1 towards the Jazz. The elevation in Utah introduced one other problem. The Clips obtained a present with Conley’s absence and nonetheless couldn’t take benefit, however they have been within the sport a lot of the evening. This sequence feels prefer it’s going to be carefully contested your entire method.

The Clippers should imagine that Paul George — who completed with 20 factors on 4-of-17 taking pictures — will play higher. The Jazz might get a greater offensive sport out of Gobert, and can seemingly get Conley again. It was simple to offer the Clippers a small edge coming into the sequence as a result of they’ve the very best participant in Kawhi Leonard, however in some unspecified time in the future Mitchell’s excellence within the playoffs can’t be discounted. It was sufficient to offer the Jazz a 1-0 lead on Tuesday.


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