SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 28: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz looks on during Round 1 Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks on April 28, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

"This Hurts" | Utah's Season Ends In Heart-Breaking Fashion

Despite a frantic comeback to tie the game late in the fourth quarter and an impressive showing from Donovan Mitchell, Utah's season came to a crushing end after falling 98-96 to Dallas on Thursday night

With four seconds left, Bojan Bogdanovic caught the ball on the left wing, pump-faked, and watched Spencer Dinwiddie sail by him. After a dribble, he reset his feet and let it fly.

For the Utah Jazz, it was the ideal scenario. Arguably your best three-point shooter and one of your most clutch players getting a chance to win it with a wide-open look.

But as many know, the NBA is a make-or-miss league, and sadly for Bogdanovic and the Jazz, it was a miss that they'll be remembering.

Despite an impressive comeback to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, Utah's season came to a crushing end after falling 98-96 to Dallas on Thursday night. With the loss, the fifth-seeded Jazz lost 4-2 to the fourth-seeded Mavericks in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

"I'm incredibly proud of this team and the way we competed tonight," head coach Quin Snyder said." Obviously, the result speaks for itself, but it was a pleasure coaching this group. I'm proud of the way we battled and competed. … We put ourselves in a position to win the game."

Although it wasn't the way Donovan Mitchell saw his season-ending, Utah's three-time all-star was phenomenal in the final game of the year.

He was the leader the Jazz needed, getting off to a hot start and keeping his teammates engaged throughout the game by picking them up when they needed it most. His overall skillset was on full display as he finished with a near triple-double of 23 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds.

Whenever Dallas appeared ready to pull away, it was Mitchell who came up with a big play. Whether it was an aggressive drive to the rim, a shot from beyond the arc, or a pass for a bucket, he was the engine that kept the Jazz in the game.

"This hurts, we fell short of our goal. I'm hurting right now. ... I'm speechless," Mitchell said. "There were times this season when the ball was rolled out that we didn't show that we wanted to be a team with championship aspirations."

For Bogdanovic, he finished with 19 points and four rebounds while playing really impressive defense on Dallas' duo Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson. Despite expending so much energy on the defensive end, he was still efficient from the field by shooting 9-of-15 from the floor and 3-for-6 from three-point territory.

He had a really impressive stretch midway through the third quarter that kept the Jazz in the lead as the Mavericks began to find a rhythm. Doncic caught fire, drilling back-to-back three-pointers, but Bogdanovic answered both with three-pointers of his own — coming on passes from Mitchell.

While it will be the final shot that will stick with him, the Jazz never would've had a chance to win it in the end if it wasn't for Bogdanovic. He hit a big three-pointer just minutes before that tied the game at 94.

"Unfortunately I missed the shot, but it was a great look," he said. "I was wide open. … It's a shot I've hit before."

"Bojan is as clutch a player as you'll see. … You've seen him hit big shot after big shot," Snyder said. "There's no better guy to have take that shot, everyone in the locker room would want him to have that shot at that time. … Nobody is feeling that more than he is."

It was a good start defensively for the Jazz, allowing the crowd to stay heavily involved and make life difficult for the Mavericks. Bogdanovic and Mike Conley got the scoring started, but Dallas battled back, tying the game at 15 late in the quarter. However, Utah ended on a flurry as Jordan Clarkson and Conley drilled three-pointers for the Jazz to take a 21-15 lead after one.

The second quarter saw both offenses settle in and establish a rhythm, with the Mavericks taking a 36-35 lead following a bucket by Brunson. But Mitchell immediately responded with a layup, igniting an 18-5 run to close the half, punctuated by a bucket from Bogdanovic at the buzzer.

Utah led 53-41 at the break.

Knowing Dallas would come out firing after the half, Utah weathered the storm and still held a 12-point lead with just over nine minutes to play. But then the floodgates opened for Dallas, going on a 16-5 run to get back into the game. After Bogdanovic hit those big shots matching Doncic, the Mavericks ended the quarter on a flurry to lead 77-72 after three.

The fourth quarter was full of drama — but the Jazz showed what they're made of to battle back and have a chance to win it in the end.

After Dallas led 88-80 with just over six to play, Utah began to put things together. Mitchell got things started with a bucket, and then Clarkson followed up his own missed three-pointer with a putback, igniting an 8-0 run to tie the game with four minutes to play.

The Mavericks appeared to put daggers into the Jazz with back-to-back three-pointers — but Utah stayed calm as Mitchell went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe and Bogdanovic hit a three to tie the game at 94. After a Brunson three-pointer made it a four-point game, Rudy Gobert had a layup and then a critical defensive stop on Doncic to give the Jazz a chance to win it in the end.

"I have unbelievable respect for our guys in the way we played," Snyder said. "I thought we were fearless and aggressive. … No shame in the way we played. We got beat, and that's a shame. … I thought we played well enough to win this game."

Clarkson finished with 15 points and six rebounds, while Gobert added a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds. Conley added 11 points, eight assists, and four rebounds.

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