You don’t always need to play heavy minutes to make an impact, and Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell showed exactly how important he was to the team in only 26 minutes of play. Coming off an ankle injury that’s had him sidelined since well before the end of the regular season, Mitchell showed his class as he scored 25 points in 8 of 19 shooting, including 5 of 10 from three. That scoring output was his main contribution, but it was exactly what the Jazz needed.
Mitchell led the early scoring for the Jazz, making three triples in the first quarter while also getting three foul shots in one possession. That big 12 points at the start of the game set the tone for the Jazz, who held a lead for most of the game and had themselves a 74-54 advantage heading into the second half.
As they’ve proven consistently, this Grizzlies team had no intentions of giving up, and actually managed to cut the lead to two points a 93-91 with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
The Jazz didn’t falter this time around, though, and were able to pad the lead up again in the fourth quarter with a solid team effort that netted them the 141-129 win.
Mitchell’s return seemed to fire up the rest of his teammates too, as seven of the nine Jazz players that took to the court scored 14 or more points. Rudy Gobert managed to stay out of foul trouble this time, at least, and scored 21 while grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking four shots. Mike Conley was solid throughout too, with 20 points and 15 assists.
Jordan Clarkson, this season’s Sixth Man of the Year, didn’t do that well from the floor on 4 of 11 shooting, but crucially made all seven of his free throws en-route to 16 points.
Mitchell was quick to give credit to Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant, though, considering that the surging point guard put on another hellacious performance with 47 points, four rebounds and seven assists on a scorching 15 of 26 from the field. His relentless attacks also got him 20 free throw attempts, and he sank 15 of them.
Dillon Brooks, the breakout star of Game 1, had a solid game too with 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting. He could have probably had a bigger impact on the game if Mitchell didn’t draw two fouls on him in the first quarter.
Mitchell definitely showed his value in this outing, and it’s going to be exciting to see these two teams go to battle again for the series lead. The Jazz may be the better overall team, but the upstart Grizzlies have absolutely no fear of them – and that can be a dangerous thing.
I honestly hope that this series goes to seven games, just because of the sheer entertainment potential.