Behind another brilliant night from Mitchell, this time scoring 37 points two days after scoring 45, the Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 117-111 on Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
In addition to Mitchell, the Jazz saw a monster night from Rudy Gobert in the paint, with the Defensive Player of the Year scoring 12 points and hauling in 20 rebounds with three blocks. Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson also chipped in 24 points off the bench, shooting 6-of-9 from deep.
Jazz hold on after blowing 21-point lead in second half
The game opened with Mitchell on a tear, scoring 14 points in the first eight minutes of the game. That continued into the second quarter, in which the 24-year-old did this to cap off the scoring:
The Jazz appeared to put the game away early in the second quarter, building up a 21-point lead as the Clippers looked listless on offense. A change in defense ended up sparking Los Angeles though, switching to a zone and aggressively guarding Mitchell high in the halfcourt. The lead was only seven points by the start of the fourth quarter.
The Jazz never trailed in the first three quarters of the game, with the Clippers pulling within one possession 12 different times during that span, plus three more times in the first minutes of the fourth quarter. They finally took their first lead on a Reggie Jackson 3-pointer:
THE CLIPPERS HAVE THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/IJFP9NJ4gM
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 11, 2021
That would be the high point for the Clippers, though, as the Jazz responded with a 15-4 run to take back the lead.
Jackson ended up leading the Clippers with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting (4-of-8 from deep), while Paul George had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. The Jazz had another strong game containing Kawhi Leonard, who had only 21 points and just couldn't penetrate the paint with Gobert on patrol.
Donovan Mitchell on ankle: 'I'm fine now'
Of concern for the Jazz was Mitchell appearing to turn his ankle in the fourth quarter after colliding with George. Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season and first game of the playoffs due to an ankle sprain, but said after the game he felt fine:
Donovan Mitchell: "I got hit, and it hurt, but I'm fine now. I walked in here. I can sprint for you if you want me to. ... S--- happens."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 11, 2021
Game 3 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT on Saturday in Los Angeles.
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