Donovan Mitchell knows precisely what is at stake Thursday night at Vivint Arena.
When speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon, the star goaltender didn’t brag that Utah needed a win to keep its season alive. He wasn’t reserved when asked what was wrong Monday night in Dallas.
If nothing else, it has been pointed. Questions about his health, the future of the Jazz or what’s different in an elimination game, Mitchell was neither arrogant nor timid – he was direct, focused and, at the very least, ready to go.
Trailing 3-2 in their first-round series, Utah will be looking to keep their season alive and force a do-or-die Game 7 when they host the Mavericks on Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled 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 dressing room, all we can do is compete with everything we have. We’re going to go out and fight.”
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After having had a few days to think things over, watch the game replay and work out what seem to be the most prevalent issues after their Game 5 loss, Mitchell and the Jazz have reason to be confident heading into Thursday’s showdown.
While Utah’s struggles were legit, they were also slightly exaggerated as the Jazz just didn’t knock down the shots. The offense went well until generating open shots, but the Jazz never seemed to have their legs under them throughout the game.
With Dallas pushing the tempo and getting the ball up the field quickly before attacking, Utah always appeared on their heels and never recovered.
“We didn’t make any shots,” Mitchell said. “At the end of the day we were able to take a few shots. … As a group, that’s the takeaway from the game.”
“It’s not like we haven’t competed. … We’re playing to win,” head coach Quin Snyder said Monday night. “Dallas played well, they had us on our heels at the start of the game. We were just half a step behind in transition, half a step behind on a fence, just half a step behind .”
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While it’s safe for Mitchell to assume he and his teammates will find their offense, one of the biggest bright spots has been their defense. The Jazz held the Mavericks to 102 points, including 27.9% shooting from three-point territory — and it happened in front of their home crowd at American Airlines Arena.
Suppose Utah can keep hustling at that end of the field, flying and turning correctly. In this case, there is no reason to believe that this team will not be able to put in a very similar performance in defense.
“Our intensity, we can take advantage of that,” Mitchell said. “We can continue to keep. … We can continue to build on that and do better things. We didn’t shoot well, but we kept. … If we continue to do that on this side of the ball, the attack will go away. will take care of it.”
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As for Mitchell himself, his status for Thursday night appeared bleak after he left in the fourth quarter and did not return. An MRI revealed no structural damage to his hamstrings, but it was noted that he suffered bruises in the quadriceps of both legs.
Either way, Mitchell told reporters he was ready to play Game 6 – a game he never considered sitting in due to the competitive nature burning inside.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”
It’s time to show up and show off!
We’ll see each other there
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