After their tough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in game one, multiple Jazz players had issues to work through or injuries to heal. Donovan Mitchell showed incredible toughness playing with a toe contusion he received at some point during the game.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was seeing Mitchell plead with Coach Snyder to get back into the game.
Donovan Mitchell pleading to go back in after hurting his foot is my spirit animal. #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/2ICcOVSSJv— Jake Lee (@jacobrexlee) April 16, 2018
You can see him say “please” after refusing medical treatment.
This is the stuff that Jazz fans have hoped for since Jerry Sloan.
Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors (and everyone on this team) are a group of humble warriors with a will to win and Jerry Sloan would have loved it during his coaching days.
There’s no question that Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have incredible talent, but it’s their fight and toughness that would have earned Karl Malone and John Stockton’s respect and play time from coach Sloan.
You can’t tell me that Jerry wouldn’t cuss out a ref for Donovan Mitchell or that Malone wouldn’t have an errant elbow for anyone dumb enough to cheap shot Ricky Rubio.
For tonight’s game, Mitchell’s status has been set as “questionable.”
Donovan Mitchell (left foot contusion) is questionable tomorrow and went through portions of practice today.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 17, 2018
According to Royce O’neale Donovan is going to play.
Royce O’Neal said Donovan mitchell will be good to go for Wednesday’s game.— Tony Parks (@tonyparkszone) April 16, 2018
After game one we now know that Donovan Mitchell’s toughness is unquestionable. If he can play, he’ll play.
Even though Jerry’s not able to vocalize it these days, you know he’s enjoying this team’s grit and that he’d have loved a chance to go to war with these guys.
After a tough shooting night in game one, Ricky Rubio has been putting in extra work to get his shot ready for tonight’s game.
Ricky Rubio is the last one on the team in the gym, putting in extra work on his jumper. #dedication pic.twitter.com/jqQZy2gWcE— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) April 17, 2018
Ricky Rubio puts up extra shots after practice in hopes of better shooting in Game 2— Deseret News Sports (@desnewssports) April 17, 2018
By @E_Woodyard https://t.co/vOCPtmechf pic.twitter.com/iKtuNcDfgp
This was my favorite part from Eric Woodyard’s article about Rubio’s extra work.
As players exited the arena for the team bus, one guy stuck around: Ricky Rubio.
For another 30 or so minutes, the Spanish floor general put in extra shooting work with Jazz video analyst Steve Klei.
From step back jumpers, mid-range shots, corner 3-pointers to shooting off the dribble, Rubio went through a routine of situations he might see again on the court against Oklahoma City in Game 2 Wednesday.
Rubio also talked to the media about the intensity from his first playoff game.
Ricky Rubio describes his first playoff experience as intense. pic.twitter.com/WfhO5U9hXw— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) April 17, 2018
Having players that want extra practice, or who play though toe injuries, is incredibly refreshing.
Bleacher Report came out with a redraft of the 2017 NBA draft and guess who went #1?
1. Donovan Mitchell— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 16, 2018
3. Jayson Tatum
9. Kyle Kuzma
Re-drafting the 2017 NBA draft: https://t.co/heR1GBdlqc pic.twitter.com/tWBxnsPeHU
There is no way to quantify how huge it was for Dennis Lindsey to make Donovan Mitchell a part of this team. He’s a hall of fame level talent and will be the star that takes this team new heights.
If he can lead this offense into the playoffs in his first season, what will he be doing in the next few years?
Our own Andy Bailey was on 1280 the Zone and talked about what the Jazz need to do to win game two. Give it a listen!
Andy Bailey says the Utah Jazz should remain confident in their chances against Oklahoma City https://t.co/YiZZgP9QSD— 1280 The Zone (@1280sports) April 17, 2018
One of the most enjoyable things about Donovan Mitchell has been getting to know his wonderful family. This was a fun clip of his sister talking about the advice she gives him after games sometimes.
Fun to visit with @spidadmitchell Mom & Sis. Love this story Jordan Mitchell shares of offering advice to her NBA brother. Great people! #takenote pic.twitter.com/PjqRbcIhNo— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) April 17, 2018
I especially enjoyed this this clip from Donovan’s mother, Nicole, talking about how they knew playing for the Jazz was “meant to be.”
The moment Nicole Mitchell realized “This is the Place” for her son @spidadmitchell #JazzNation #TakeNote pic.twitter.com/bca9NSqv7O— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) April 17, 2018
Donovan Mitchell has turned what was destined to be a very depressing season into the most fun I’ve had watching the Jazz since Stockton and Malone. The best part? This is going to last for years.