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Jazz vs. Clippers: Donovan Mitchell destroys Los Angeles in every possible way as playoff dominance continues

At this point, the Los Angeles Clippers must defiantly raise their hands in disbelief. First, they won seven full games of the almost unstoppable Luka Doncic, and now, in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, they are dissected and demoralized by Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who solidified his superstar status with his early performances after the season. .

Mitchell scored 37 points in a 15-for-29 shot, including a 6-for-12 of 3 points in a 117-112 Game 2 win over the Clippers on Thursday to give the Jazz a 2-0 lead. He now averages 41 points in 53/44/80 split against the Clippers and has more points than minutes played in six games this season.

The most devastating part of the way Mitchell did his business on Thursday was that the Clippers did their job. With each superstar player you mix your appearance, alternate the primary defenders and live with the results. The problem is that the results for Mitchell were mostly in favor of Utah. Here’s a quick look at all the ways Mitchell derives from the Clippers’ various defenses throughout the night.

Mitchell admitted that he came out with a scorer mentality after only scoring six points in a 2 out of 8 shot in the first quarter of Game 1.

“I think tonight I was thinking ahead when I started the strong game,” Mitchell said afterwards. “I think my poor results in the first half [of Game 1] at both ends of the floor it was huge for them to get out there and they got what, we went down 13 where there was a tough battle throughout the game. So for me, it’s like, well, I’m going to make my mark, and I think tonight was by scoring. “

You saw Mitchell’s aggression early on, but it was strategic. In his first basket of the game, Mitchell faked as if he were using a screen by Rudy Robert, but when he saw Marcus Morris in an auxiliary position, he quickly crossed, creating a wide-open jumper in front of the falling Ivica Zubac.

Later in the quarter, Mitchell received a half-screen from Bojan Bogdanovic only to have to switch, but Marcus Morris was a split second late. Mitchell slides across the gap between Maurice and Paul George and enters the band, where he is one of the best finalists in the world.

Mitchell finished the first quarter with 14 points in a 6 out of 9 shot, but the attack continued from there. Watch here as Mitchell demonstrates absolute mastery of pick-and-roll, holding Kawhi Leonard on his back as he slowly makes his way to Zubac, forcing the big man to choose between his defense and the rolling Derrick Favors. The patience and intelligence that Mitchell shows here to get organized is nothing else.

By the end of the first half, Mitchell felt it so much that he managed to make unchanged shots in this way in isolation. He entered the locker room at halftime with 27 points in a 11-for-16 shot in less than 20 minutes.

Naturally, the Clippers started pushing Mitchell in the third quarter to get the ball out of his hands. Here he showed his growth as a playmaker, able to read correctly and complete the pass to make his team score. Here he patiently orients himself in the double team (which becomes a triple team) and finds Gobert wide open for immersion.

Next, when the Clippers send Leonard to double Mitchell late in the shot clock, he reads the defense and shoots a perfect cross-court pass to Bogdanovich, who sneaks into open 3. Three of Mitchell’s four assists came in the second half.

“When I’m in the league, I know it’s only been four years, but you see everything. I’ve seen every cover,” Mitchell said after the game. “It’s just a matter of doing the right readings. … Somehow I knew that entering the game, they would take different looks and probably do the same thing again in Game 3, so I just have to be ready and watch the movie. and to do what I instinctively do. “

Defending the zone created little trouble for Mitchell in the second half when the Clippers made a comeback, but when it came to jazz that needed a basket, Mitchell chased a switch by Luke Kennard and went to work, making a hard hit from the clutch to put the game out range.

If Mitchell plays at that level, jazz will wreak havoc on opposing defenses and may simply end up in the NBA Finals. His performance so far this season, along with what we’ve seen in his young career, makes Mitchell a superstar of the rarest kind – the one who elevates his game when it’s most important.

“Our boys know who he is and he knows who he is, and I think the biggest thing Donovan has done, frankly, is just to compete,” said jazz coach Quinn Snyder after Game 2. “It’s something which he wears every night. He just wants to win and compete, and good things happen when that’s the case. “

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