As the Utah Jazz entered the offseason, it was clear that one of the main priorities was to get a quality backup point guard. In fact, the Jazz even signed a backup center and a backup power forward before adding a backup point guard. The move was tacit acknowledgement of an uncomfortable truth: without Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz could face a historic upset.
The Utah Jazz got a huge win last night against the Memphis Grizzlies, but it came at a cost. Starting point guard and team star Donovan Mitchell left the game with a wrist injury and did not return. There is no official diagnosis yet, but the Jazz have a history of handling injuries better than most teams, so don’t expect them to panic. Still, this is a huge loss for a team that had just won its first playoff series in years, and could be on the verge of something special. While backup point guard Ricky Rubio could fill in, the Jazz will need Alec Burks to step up if they want to have a chance against the Houston Rockets.
Without Donovan Mitchell the Utah Jazz Could Face a Historic Upset
The first weekend of the 2021 NBA Playoffs brought some firsts. The No. 5 Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks won over the No. 4 seed, while the No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers took on the No. 3 Denver Nuggets. The biggest disappointment of the weekend came in the final game of the weekend, when the No. 8 seeded Memphis Grizzlies took on the No. 1 seeded Utah Jazz. Without superstar Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz struggled to keep up with the Grizzlies’ fast pace. If Mitchell doesn’t find a way back soon, Jah Morant and company could find themselves in a historic group that has done the unthinkable.
Donovan Mitchell missed game 1 of the first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies
Donovan Mitchell | Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images MESSAGE: Donovan Mitchell had an epic tantrum and blamed the referees after he was taken out of the game and lost to one of his biggest rivals. Mitchell is the undisputed star of the Utah Jazz. He led the team in scoring (26.4), field goals (9.0), three-point shooting (3.4) and field goal percentage (33.5), and was second in efficiency (21.3), steals (1.0) and assists (5.2). The 6’1 guard had to leave Game 1 against the Grizzlies on Sunday with a nagging ankle injury. That he’s 17 years old. Missing his second game in a row was a shock to most Jazz fans and perhaps to the player himself. Before the game, Mitchell told The Salt Lake Tribune: I am ready to work today, without pain. I can’t wait to get started. A local newspaper also reported after practice that Mitchell had not aggravated his ankle injury. Utah’s coaching staff decided it was best to let the star play one more game.
The Utah Jazz lose their first game against the Memphis Grizzlies
The #1 seed always plays the #8 seed in the first round of the playoffs. But this year’s No. 8 is No. 9 in the West. It happened for the first time in NBA history with the Grizzlies’ victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA qualifying tournament. Mitchell’s absence hurt the Jazz and allowed the Grizzlies to take a 1-0 lead in the series after a 112-109 win at Utah. After a slow start in the first quarter, Memphis put the flame on at the end, with 31 points from Dillon Brooks and 26 from Morant. The Jazz suffered from the absence of their leading scorer in crucial parts of the game. Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley scored 29 and 22 points respectively, but Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles had disappointing nights and Rudy Gobert played just 25 minutes due to foul trouble. Despite these difficulties, Utah still had a chance to decide the game in overtime. However, Bogdanovic was unable to hit a deep, contested 3-pointer. If Mitchell had played, he would have been the shooter there and who knows what would have happened. All we know is that the longer Mitchell sits, the better the Grizzlies’ chances are.
Clashes between the eighth and first finals in the NBA playoffs are rare, but they happen.
. LAST : Biggest losses in NBA Finals history If the Grizzlies manage to go from No. 1 to No. 8, they won’t be the first, but they will be one of the few teams to do so. The first and most symbolic defeat came in 1994. That year, Dikembe Mutombo and the Nuggets won the five-game series in the first round against the Seattle Supersonics, Gary Payton and Sean Kemp. The video of Mutombo lying on the court after the Finals, holding the ball and crying with joy, is one of the most memorable in NBA history. Coach Jeff Van Gundy’s team, the New York Knicks, also defeated Miami Heat mentor Pat Riley in 1999, the We Believe Warriors defeated Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks in 2007, and the Philadelphia 76ers bumped the Chicago Bulls from first place in 2012 after Derrick Rose suffered a knee injury that changed his career. If the Grizzlies pull off this feat, whether or not Mitchell is in the lineup, they’ll be the first team to suffer two losses like this. In 2011, with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan injured, the Grizzlies crushed the favored San Antonio Spurs and won the series in seven games. If Mitchell can return and at least give the Jazz an idea of who he is, that should be enough to get the team into the second round. If not, the Jazz can contribute to the NBA history they want no part of. All statistics provided by Basketball ReferenceAs a result of an injury to its star player, the Utah Jazz will be without Donovan Mitchell. This could leave the Jazz’s hopes of a first round playoff victory in jeopardy. The Jazz have enjoyed a remarkable season thanks in large part to the play of Mitchell, who has reached All-Star status and is on track to be named the league’s Most Improved Player. However, with Mitchell out for at least the next month, the Jazz will need to find a way to replace his scoring, assists, and leadership.. Read more about donovan mitchell fear of flying and let us know what you think.
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