Venting his frustration after the Jazz had given up a 21-point lead over the Clippers and fell behind by two points near the middle of the fourth quarter Thursday, Utah guard Donovan Mitchell took a detour on the way to his team’s huddle and suddenly kicked out his right foot, flipping up the seat of an innocent chair along the sideline.
Kicking a hard, metal object might not have been the best idea for a player who missed the last 16 games of the regular season and the opener of Utah’s first-round playoff series against Memphis because of a sprained right ankle. Especially since Mitchell had been limping at times during a 117-111 Utah victory, including after a late-game collision with Clippers guard Paul George.
Not to worry, Mitchell said. “I got hit and it hurt. I’m fine now. I walked in here,” he said during a postgame media session at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. “If you want me to sprint for you, I can. I’m good.”
No one took him up on that. Yet at the pace he’s going, the Jazz will leave the Clippers in the dust and sprint into the Western Conference finals.
Yes, the Clippers faced a 2-0 deficit in the first round against Dallas and developed a strong enough backbone to rally and win the series in seven games. Come crunch time, they inflicted the damage for once, instead of being reduced…