Jazz vs Clippers: Donovan Mitchell guts out LA in every way imaginable as playoff domination continues

the Los Angeles Clippers have to throw up their hands in disbelief at this point. First of all, they got seven full matches from an almost unstoppable game Luka Doncic, and now, in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, they are dissected and demoralized by Utah Jazz keep Donovan mitchell, who cemented his status as a superstar with his first playoff performances.

Mitchell scored 37 points on 15 of 29 shots, including 6 of 12 from a 3-point range in a 117-112 win in Game 2 against the Clippers on Thursday to give the Jazz a 2-0 lead in the series. He is now averaging 41 points on a 53/44/80 gap against the Clippers, and has more runs scored than minutes played in six playoff games.

The most devastating part of how Mitchell ran his business on Thursday was that the Clippers did their job. With any superstar player, you mix up your looks, alternate the main defenders and live with the results. The problem is, Mitchell’s results were overwhelmingly in favor of Utah. Here’s a look at all of the ways Mitchell took advantage of the Clippers’ various defenses throughout the night.

Mitchell admitted he came out with a goalscoring mentality after accumulating just six points on 2 of 8 shots in the first quarter of Game 1.

“I think tonight was my state of mind for the future, starting the game strong,” Mitchell said afterwards. “I think my poor performance in the first half [of Game 1] at both ends of the pitch it was huge for them to go there and they get, what, we lost 13, where it was an uphill battle the whole game. So for me it’s like, okay, I’m going to leave my mark and I think tonight was scoring. “

You could see Mitchell’s aggression at first, but it was strategic. During his first basket of the match, Mitchell pretends to use a Rudy Gobert, but when he sees Marcus Morris in the assist position, he crosses quickly, creating a wide open jumper in front of the fall Ivica Zubac.

Later in the quarter, Mitchell gets a half screen of Bojan Bogdanovic just to force a change, but Marcus Morris was a fraction of a second behind to step up. Mitchell sneaks between Morris and Paul Georges and enters the lane, where he is one of the best finishers in the world.

Mitchell finished the first quarter with 14 points on 6 of 9 shots, but the assault continued from there. Watch here as Mitchell shows absolute mastery of the pick-and-roll, keeping Kawhi Leonard on his back as he slowly walks towards Zubac, forcing the tall man to choose between defending him and rolling him Derrick favors. The patience and common sense Mitchell shows here in securing a layup is unmatched.

By the end of the first half, Mitchell was feeling it so much that he was able to make uncontrollable shots like this in isolation. He entered the locker room at half-time with 27 points on an 11-on-16 shot in under 20 minutes.

Understandably, the Clippers started bombarding Mitchell in the third quarter to get the ball out of his hands. It was there that he showed his growth as a playmaker, able to read the right way and execute the pass so his team were able to score. Here he patiently navigates the doubles team (which becomes a triple team) and finds a wide open Gobert for a dunk.

Then, when the Clippers send Leonard to pass Mitchell late in the shot clock, he reads the defense and makes a perfect cross pass to Bogdanovic, who pretends to make his way through an open 3. Three of Mitchell’s four assists came in Game 2.

“Being in the league, I know it’s only been four years, but you see it all. I saw all the covers,” Mitchell said after the game. “It’s just a matter of me doing the right reads.… I kind of knew that when they got into the game, they were going to throw different looks, and they were probably going to do the same thing again in Game 3, so I just have to be ready and watch the movie and do what I instinctively do. “

Zonal defense gave Mitchell a bit of a hard time in the second half as the Clippers mounted their comeback, but when it turned out the Jazz needed a basket, Mitchell looked for a switch on Luc Kennard and got to work, pulling a hard, tight shot to put the game out of reach.

If Mitchell is going to play at this level, the Jazz will wreak havoc on opposing defenses and could well end up in the NBA Finals. His performance so far in the playoffs, coupled with what we’ve already seen in his young career, makes Mitchell a superstar of the rarest kind – one who elevates his game when it matters most.

“Our guys know who he is, and he knows who he is, and I think the biggest thing Donovan has done, frankly, is to compete,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after Game 2. . “It’s something he brings every night. He just wants to win, and he’s in competition, and good things happen when he does.”

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