2021 Playoffs: West First Round Jazz vs. Grizzlies
Donovan Mitchell returns to Utah Jazz lineup for Game 2
The 2-time All-Star missed the final 16 games of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs with a sprained right ankle.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell wanted to make up for lost time.
Mitchell scored 25 points in his much-anticipated return from a sprained ankle and the Utah Jazz overcame Ja Morant’s franchise-record 47 points in a 141-129 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, tying the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
“I have never been in this position before, so this is uncharted territory. I had to find a way to just relax myself. It’s easy to go out there and try and hit a home run to start the game, but the game’s not won in the first five minutes,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell, who was limited to 26 minutes, made five 3-pointers and added two rebounds and a steal.
Mitchell was ready to play on Sunday, but the Jazz medical staff scratched him from the lineup hours before the game, frustrating the Utah star who missed 17 games with a sprained ankle.
Mitchell’s anger simmered as he watched the Jazz drop Game 1 to a motivated Memphis squad. He eventually met with his teammates and made sure they knew it wasn’t his decision to sit, and that he wanted to be on the court.
On Monday, Mitchell proclaimed he was playing in Game 2 no matter what, and the team agreed. He tried to make up for lost time, scoring 12 points with three 3s in his first eight minutes.
“Anytime you’ve been out for a significant period of time. I think there’s a tendency to try to really put a stamp on the game and I thought he really let the game come to him. He was patient … and as the game went on, you saw him attacking the basket more but he really played within himself,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said.