SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - APRIL 08: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz looks on before a game against the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 08, 2022 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. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

"I Don't Want To Go Home" | Mitchell Good To Go On Thursday Against Dallas

After his status for Thursday appeared dim after he left in the fourth quarter Monday night and didn't return, Donovan Mitchell has been given the all-clear and is ready to roll at home for game six

Donovan Mitchell knows precisely what's at stake on Thursday night at Vivint Arena.

When speaking with the media on Wednesday afternoon, the all-star guard didn't boast about the fact that Utah needs a win to keep their season alive. He wasn't reserved when asked about what went wrong Monday night in Dallas.

If nothing else, he was pointed. From questions about his health, the future of the Jazz, or what's different in an elimination game, Mitchell wasn't arrogant or shy — he was direct, focused, and, if nothing else, ready to go.

Trailing 3-2 in their first round series, Utah will look to keep its season alive and force a do-or-die game seven when they host the Mavericks on Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. MST on TNT.

"I don't want to go home. … I don't think any of us want to go home," he said. "Knowing the character in the locker room, all we can do is compete with all we got. We are going to go out there and fight."

After having a few days to reflect, watch game film, and break down where the issues seemed most rampant following their game five loss, Mitchell and the Jazz have reason to be confident heading into Thursday's showdown.

While Utah's struggles were legitimate, they were also slightly exaggerated as the Jazz simply didn't knock down shots. The offense executed well as far as generating open shots, but the Jazz never seemed as if they had their legs underneath them throughout the game.

With Dallas pushing the tempo and getting the ball up the court quickly before attacking, Utah always appeared on its heels and just never recovered.

"We didn't make shots," Mitchell said. "At the of the day, we got to make some shots. … As a group, that's the takeaway from the game."

"It's not like we didn't compete. … We play to win," head coach Quin Snyder said Monday night. "Dallas played well, they had us on our heels early in the game. We were just a half step late in transition, half step late on a close-out, just a half-step late."

While it's safe for Mitchell to assume that he and his teammates will find their offense, one of the biggest positives was their defense. The Jazz held the Mavericks to 102 points, including 27.9% shooting from three-point territory — and that came in front of their home crowd at American Airlines Arena.

Suppose Utah can continue to hustle on that end of the court, flying around and rotating properly. In that case, there's no reason to believe this team won't be capable of putting together a very similar performance on defense.

"Our intensity, we can build upon that," Mitchell said. "We can continue guard. … We can continue to build that and do better things. We didn't shoot well, but we guarded. … If we continue to do that on that side of the ball, the offense will take care of it."

As for Mitchell himself, his status for Thursday night appeared dim after he left in the fourth quarter and didn't return. An MRI revealed no structural damage to his hamstring, but it was noted that he's dealing with contusions in quads on both legs.

Regardless, Mitchell told reporters that he's good to go for game six — a game in which he never considered sitting out due to the competitive nature that burns within.

"I'm good," he said. "I'm ready to go."


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