The Utah Jazz blew a 3-1 lead in the playoffs first round last year and they didn't want the same thing to happen to them this postseason. The Jazz, who entered Game 5 versus the Memphis Grizzlies with a 3-1 lead, won 126-110 to close out the series.
"We obviously knew and felt the underlying pressure of being up 3-1 again," Jazz guard Mike Conley said. "But at the same time, we also know this team is different. This team has grown a lot since then. We learned a lot from that, and those growing pains are necessary -- if you want to win a championship, you're going to have to go through those years where you have situations like that, and hopefully that was our lesson learned.
We came out tonight really locked in; you could tell from the first possession how we were going to come out and play. And it was beautiful, beautiful to be a part of a win like that, especially given the circumstances."
Donovan Mitchell stepped up for the Jazz
Mitchell scored a game-high 30 points, had six rebounds and 10 assists. "That was pretty much the mindset," Mitchell said. "Every quarter. Taking it step by step and understanding that even though it's a 30-point lead, we still have habits.
We still have things we need to focus on and get better at -- having that [loss] be so fresh in our brain and having that hurt still there, I think definitely helped with tonight, but it just shows the poise we have as a team, as a unit.
We came out with the right mindset and we got to continue to do that." Jazz coach Quin Snyder was happy with the way his team played in Game 5 as he is hoping the Jazz make a deep run this postseason. "I think it shows that last year is last year and this year is this year," Snyder said.
"Game 3 is Game 3, Game 5 is Game 5, the thing about this time of year is that it's just as important to be able to forget as it is to be able to remember. I think our guys have been focused on controlling what we can control to the extent that there's experience gained, I think that's relevant.
"But every game's different, not just every season, every year. I really like that we were able to lock in in Game 2 after losing Game 1. We had some guys that played through fatigue and guys that came up big. You never know who it's going to be on a given night."