Donovan Mitchell has 82 points through two games, and the Utah Jazz have a 2-0 series lead. The two facts are very much related.
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.
The game opened on a tear from Mitchell, who scored 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:
That would be the high point for the Clippers, 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.
Game 3 is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT on Saturday in Los Angeles.
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