The Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-113 to take a 3-1 lead but Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell acknowledged that the series is not over. The Jazz, who led 3-1 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round series last season, ended up losing 4-3 to the Nuggets.
"We've seen this before," Mitchell said after scoring 30 points. "We've been here before. This is the exact moment we've played -- we've played up to being this team that we've been, because of that moment, I would say.
Because that fueled a lot of this season. And we're here again, and we're going to go out there and just do what we do and not really relish in the past. Although, it definitely is fuel." Mitchell underlined that he and his teammates will have to remain completely locked in if they want to safely beat the Grizzlies.
"That's what really lost that in the bubble was we stopped executing on the little things," Mitchell said. "Because we felt like, 'Oh, it's OK, they got to win three more times in a row.' I think having that [experience] will allow us to kind of come in and be like, 'All right, this is what we got to do.'
One more hit, one more sprint to the corner. Getting back on defense, taking a foul, whatever it may be. "Having that be so fresh, having it be last year, I think that definitely helps us understanding that Game 5 isn't a guarantee just because we're going home and we've won two in a row.
This team is going to fight and compete. I think the biggest thing is our mental fortitude and continuing to go out there and play like we're down 10."
Jazz coach Quin Snyder says it's a different team now
"I'm sure it's something that the guys have discussed at various times," Snyder said.
"I think we're looking at it more generally, as opposed to pointing to a specific series or a specific time. That situation in the bubble was a really unique one, and that's certainly not to discount the fact that we were in a position that we want to be in again.
But this is a different year, and this is a different team. "We've got Bojan [Bogdanovic] back. Derrick [Favors] is here this year. There's some things about our group right now -- and I think there's a maturity.
We've been through a lot, and I think when that happens, all of us, whether it's personally or certainly the team, you pull each other along. And I think that's the growth process that's taken place with our team."