Not only did Utah’s dynamic scoring duo go open season on the Grizzlies, they also apparently wanted to make it home early from their hunt. Mitchell and Clarkson combined for 48 first-half points — nearly as many as the 53 scored by all of Memphis’ players — which led to a 17-point halftime lead for the Jazz.
Thanks to the efforts of Mitchell and Clarkson, who wound up combining for 63 points the entire game, Utah was able to overcome a relapse game for Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogey didn’t score until midway through the fourth (and the game largely decided) and went 1-of-7 from the field with just three points.
The lead ballooned to as much as 30 during the third quarter, and while the Grizzlies made a run to cut the lead under 20 at a later point (and during garbage time) the Jazz kept their distance and never let the game be in question the rest of the way. Both sides had their end-of-the-bench guys in by the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
As a side note, tonight marked the Jazz debut of Matt Thomas. The former Toronto Raptor checked in with 6:32 left in the game and went the distance. The acclaimed sharpshooter didn’t impress too much though, going 0-for-3 from the field and committing three turnovers. That level of play likely isn’t indicative of what Thomas will be like in Utah, though the kind of minutes he got probably will be a good representation of his 2020-21 Jazz season.
Last time out against these same Grizzlies, Mitchell went for 35 points. Tonight, he reached that point total in the third quarter before he’d even played 24 minutes. Thanks to that effort, Mitchell got a long rest on the bench and wound up playing just 28 minutes and finishing with *just* the 35 points. He also added seven assists but was lacking on the boards tonight, collecting just two.
It’s no secret The Spida is on an incredible run of form. He’s averaging 30.3 points per game since the All-Star break alongside 6.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Shooting-wise he’s almost in the same world as he was in the Orlando bubble posting 50/40/90 splits (50.0/45.3/90.1 to be exact) in the last nine games. He’s the only player in the NBA scoring 30-plus points on those shooting splits post-All Star break.
Even going back all the way to the start of February, Mitchell is averaging north of 28 points per game, which is inside the top ten in scoring in that span.
This is the Donovan Mitchell that can lead Utah to the promised land.