Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell didn't feel well in the first half of Game 1 versus the Los Angeles Clippers but he delivered big time in the second half. Mitchell scored 32 of his 45 points in the second half as the Jazz edged out the Clippers 112-109 to win Game 1.
"Yeah, I was definitely feeling it a little bit, but sometimes you've just got to dig deep into a different place," Mitchell said after the Jazz rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 112-109 victory at Vivint Arena in this Western Conference second-round series.
"I was getting my ass kicked individually in the first half on both ends of the floor. I wasn't making the right reads. Luke [Kennard] hit a bunch of shots on me, Reggie [Jackson] hit a bunch of shots on me and there were situations where I was being lazy and letting that fatigue kind of get to me.
"So, I came into halftime and just said, 'Look, I'm just going to have to find a way.' "
Jazz players expected Mitchell to step up
"We knew that in the second half Donovan was going to come out aggressive, and he did," said Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who had 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, including a win-sealing swat of Marcus Morris Sr.'
s corner 3 attempt with seconds remaining. "Obviously, he gave us a great lift. And he did a great job not settling for the jump shots but attacking them and putting pressure on them -- finishing at the rim, drawing fouls or kicking out for the shooters.
"When we play that way, I think that's when we become really, really hard to guard." Jazz head coach Quin Snyder wasn't surprised by Mitchell's performance. "He's not afraid to fail," Jazz coach Snyder said.
"He'll take the next shot. We want him to take open looks. If he misses a few of them, you know, they're good shots. Keep taking them, and keep attacking. That's who he is." Mitchell felt nauseated and a little light-headed during the first half.
"I didn't do a lot of things right for my team in the first half, and it really kind of ate at me," said Mitchell, who also had five assists in the win. "It still does. I put my team in a certain position, and I feel like that it was on me to come out there and set the tone on both ends of the floor."