Donovan Mitchell collided with Paul George late in the fourth quarter and stayed down a while. Once helped up, Mitchell – who missed more than a month, including the start of the playoffs, with a right ankle sprain – didn’t immediately put weight on his right leg.
“I’m great,” Mitchell said after the game. “No problems.”
He had plenty of reason to feel so enthusiastic.
Mitchell scored 37 points to lead the Jazz to a 117-111 win over the Clippers in Game 2 Thursday. Utah leads the second-round series 2-0. Teams that won the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home have won the series 94% of the time.
This is a familiar deficit for the Clippers, who overcame a 2-0 hole to beat the Mavericks in the first round. But no team has ever won two series after trailing 2-0 in the same postseason. The Clippers will attempt to avoid yet another second-round disappointment, starting in Game 3 Saturday.
That starts with better defending Mitchell.
After scoring 32 points in the second half of Game 1, Mitchell scored 27 in the first half tonight. In adjustment from Game 1, the Clippers started a flashing neon sign that said “attack me” Ivica Zubac. The Jazz – especially Mitchell – relentlessly attacked the unagile center.
L.A. then overcame a 21-point deficit in the second half by using a highly effective zone defense.
Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points) played solid defense on Kawhi Leonard. And, of course Rudy Gobert (13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, 20 rebounds, three blocks and two steals) – who received his Defensive Player of the Year trophy before the game – stymied the Clippers throughout.
George (27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists) goosed his stat line late, after Ingles’ dagger 3. Leonard (21 points and five assists) was pedestrian relative to his superstar standards. Reggie Jackson (29 points) actually led L.A. in scoring.