Utah Jazz legend watches Donovan Mitchell tie his franchise record

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

It can’t be long until Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell drops 40 once again.

At the mere age of 24, Utah Jazz sensation Donovan Mitchell has now already tied a franchise record with four 40-plus scoring shows in the NBA Playoffs throughout his career.

And Mitchell’s four-year career is still less than a quarter of the length of the legend he matched on the list. That would be former 18-year Utah gem and two-time league MVP Karl Malone, who was on hand Tuesday night in Vivint Arena to see the No. 1 seed Jazzmen defeat the No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers, 112-109, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Malone took part in 193 playoff games for the Jazz. Thus far, Mitchell has all of 28 postseason outings to his name.

A will to win from the young Utah Jazz guard

With fellow All-Star backcourt weapon Mike Conley out due to a mild right hamstring strain, Donovan Mitchell shouldered the extra load — and then some. He did so by matching his jersey number with 45 points against the Clippers while shooting 16-for-30 from the field, including a 6-for-15 clip from 3-point land, and 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.

Mitchell also chipped in five assists, three rebounds, one steal, and one block across his 37 minutes on the floor. Clearly, his attack-mode style after the break was most responsible for the necessary energy surge to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit.

Although Mitchell is now averaging a remarkable 31.8 points across his five playoff games since returning from a fairly severe right ankle sprain that had kept him out of action for 40 days, this latest effort marks his first 40-plus scoring performance of this postseason.

Chances are, though, it won’t be his last.

As for the other three such outings on Donovan Mitchell’s resume, well, they all came last season during Utah’s seven-game first-round series loss to the Denver Nuggets.

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The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers are set to square off for Game 2 in Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. MT Thursday.