The Utah faithful chanted “MVP” so loud during Donovan Mitchell’s postgame interview, he had to stop in his tracks and thank the crowd.
Mitchell went off for 45 points in a Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. It was his fourth career 40-point playoff game, tying Karl Malone for the most in Jazz postseason history. Malone did it in 149 games — Mitchell did it in 28.
The 24-year-old was just 5-of-15 from the field as the Jazz trailed by 13 points.
“I came into halftime and just said, ‘Look, I’m just going to have to find a way.’”
From that point on, “Spida” shot 11-of-15 from the floor, scoring 32 of his 45 in the second half. Despite the small sample size, Mitchell is proving to be one of the best playoff scorers the game has seen, averaging 28.1 PPG (6th in NBA history).
“He’s not afraid to fail,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “That’s who he is.”
Game 2 is tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. ET. The Clippers have their own issues to figure out, starting with Paul George, who shot 4-of-18 yesterday.