The Clippers need to make someone else other than Donovan Mitchell beat them
The Clippers looked like they were in complete control of Game 1 after the first-half, leading the Jazz 60-47 and holding Donovan Mitchell to just 13 points on 5-14 shooting from the floor, but then they seemed to collapse on the defensive-end of the court in the third quarter. They started giving up some easier looks for Utah and given how volatile of an offense the Jazz have, Utah was able to get themselves back into this game and ultimately pull away in the fourth quarter.
Without Mike Conley, the Jazz were able to take Game 1 in large part thanks to Donovan Mitchell having yet another historic playoff performance. In four seasons now, Mitchell is a 2x All-Star and has gone from being a key starter to being an NBA superstar!
He is getting better and better every time he steps out on the court and now, with his 45 point performance in Game 1 of this series against the Clippers, he is now tied with Karl Malone for the most 40+ point games in Jazz playoff history. Malone played in 193 career playoff games with the Utah Jazz and Game 1 against the Clippers was Mitchell’s 27th career playoff game.
With or without Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell has proved that he is one of the most dynamic players in the entire NBA on the offensive-end of the court and can score in many different ways. This is why it is essential that Los Angeles comes back in Game 2 and forces anybody else to beat them.
They need to get the ball out of Donovan Mitchell’s hands, otherwise they are going to be dealing with the same situation they dealt with in their series against the Mavericks, where Luka Doncic was torching the Clippers for 30, sometimes 40+ points per night. L.A. ultimately won that series, but if they allow Mitchell to average well over 30 points per game in this series, there is no way that the Clippers will be able to take down the Jazz.
The Clippers need to do everything they can to try and force the ball out of Mitchell’s hands because they saw first hand in Game 1 that he is more than capable of taking every single shot down the stretch for Utah. If they do successfully force the ball out of Michell’s hands and other guys like Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanoivc wind up beating them, then so be it, but the Los Angeles Clippers need to make some adjustments to make life difficult for Mitchell in this series.