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Donovan Mitchell’s rookie legacy keeps getting better

Carrying the team on his back, Mitchell adds a classic playoff win to his rookie legacy

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I still can’t get over that game last night. It was one of those games that you won’t forget. Yeah, It was just game two in the first round of the playoffs, but that game was special, for many reasons.

Donovan Mitchell was incredible. Yes, he shot 10-25, including 0-7 from three. But what Donovan Mitchell did for the Jazz last night was more than a stat line or shot chart. He did what superstars do. He picked the team up, set them on his back, and took over the game.

The Jazz surrendered a 19-0 run in the final minutes of the third quarter, and it was as ugly as it sounds. Everything was looking down; bricked shots, bad passes, defensive breakdowns, it was just bad. It looked like the Jazz were on their way to staring an 0-2 defecit right in the face heading back home. They looked lost. They looked like they didn’t know what to do, or who to turn to. And that’s when Donovaon Mitchell stepped in.

After missing a wide-open dunk and committing a goaltend on the other end, you could tell Mitchell was pissed. Just by his body language you could tell that he was upset, maybe it was the missed dunk, the goaltend, or the fact that his team was now down by 10 when they had been ahead by 9 not three minutes ago. Whatever it was that pissed Donovan Mitchell off, it got him going. Mitchell scored five straight quick points that cut the lead to five, including this dunk in the final seconds of the quarter.

This dunk, to me, changed the destiny of game two in Oklahoma City. Through this dunk, it was almost as if Donovan was saying “Na, I’m not going out like this, not today”. Mitchell went on to score 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch dagger over Russell Westbrook with a minute and half remaining. The rookie had that look in his eye, and it was an incredible moment to witness.

After the big win, the Jazz return to Salt Lake City with the series even at one a piece, and have home-court advantage back in their favor.

After Donovan Mitchell’s 27 and 28-point performances in games one and two of this series, he has made NBA Playoffs history as a rookie guard.

He passed Michael Jordan for the most points for a rookie guard in their first two NBA playoffs games, with 55 points. Mitchell has been in some historic company throughout the season with some of his stat lines and milestones, and this is another pretty awesome accomplishment.

You might just be wondering how Donovan Mitchell is doing all of this. Winning playoff games, breaking records held by MJ, etc. Well, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon took a deep dive into the film breakdown of Mitchell in his latest article. It’s a pretty fun piece to read, seeing how Mitchell prepares for certain matchups and playsets, and how Quin Snyder and other Jazz coaches hasve helped get the most out of the rookie this season.

I couldn’t write something about last night’s win and not say something about Derrick Favors. What a freaking performance. From the opening tip Favors was in absolute hulk-mode. In the first quarter alone, Favors posted 9 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, including 5 offensive. He bullied whatever small-ball four was trying to guard/box him out throughout the entire game. Favors finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 assists, and was a huge part of the Jazz coming out with that win. Favors joings Malone, Millsap, and Memo as the only Jazzmen to post at least 20 points and 16 rebounds in a playoff game.

Who’s ready for game three? Who’s going to game three? There is no doubt in my mind that Vivint SmartHome Arena is going to be very lit on Saturday, and it’s not just because of the red and yellow gradients.

Several players have already made comments about playing in front of the playoff crowd this Saturday, and we all know the fans will not disappoint.