Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell dedicates stirring performance to U of U shooting victim

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz dribbles the ball defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in the first half at Toyota Center on October 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz dribbles the ball defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in the first half at Toyota Center on October 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell had a great game on Wednesday in Houston, and dedicated his performance to the late Lauren McCluskey and her family.

The Utah Jazz got a much-needed win in commanding fashion over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Just a game removed from an absolutely pathetic performance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Utah looked like an entirely different team as they defeated Houston 100-89 with much-improved shooting marks of 43.6 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from the perimeter.

But the best part of the victory was the rejuvenated play of Donovan Mitchell. After facing some efficiency and decision-making struggles in the first three games, Mitchell had his first truly stellar outing of the season. He finished with 38 points on 56 percent shooting from the field and 44.4 percent from deep while chipping in seven assists and five rebounds.

Some Jazz fans were beginning to worry about Mitchell and wondering if perhaps he was headed for a sophomore slump. However, if Wednesday’s performance was any indication, Mitchell just sent a strong message to all in doubt that they need to relax. The season is young, and Donovan is surely in line for a strong season.

But more meaningful even than his improved play and the Jazz win was the motivating factor behind Mitchell’s big night. On Monday night, tragedy struck in Salt Lake City. 21-year-old Lauren McCluskey of the University of Utah track team was shot and killed by her abusive ex-boyfriend. It was a chilling and heartbreaking occurrence for which there are no words.

Donovan Mitchell was quick to show his support following the tragedy, tweeting out the following on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, respectively–

And following the horrific event, Donovan paid further tribute to McCluskey and her family by etching her name into his shoes for Wednesday’s contest against the Houston Rockets, as you can once again see in the tweets below–

Donovan then went on to say after the game that his incredible performance and the win were dedicated to her and her family. He expressed his genuine heartbreak at the situation and made some good comments on the horrific issue of domestic violence as well–

While such a sad event is hard to touch on or discuss, it is great to see Donovan offering his condolences and continuing to be such an incredible part of the Salt Lake community. His performance dedicated to the late McCluskey and her family, and his sincere expression of sympathy were incredible moments to see out of the young star.

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We here at The J-Notes echo Donovan’s thoughts and feelings of condolences towards the McCluskey family and have all those affected by the tragedy in our hearts. We’re also thankful for Mitchell’s ability to show his support and raise his voice on such meaningful and important matters. It’s great for him to remind us all that even for a professional athlete like himself, there’s so much out there in life that’s bigger than basketball.