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Jazz offensive explosion pushes Utah past Grizzlies, into second round

Donovan Mitchell in Jazz-Grizzlies Game 5

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JUNE 2: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz smiles during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 2, 2021 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Donovan Mitchell waited for Jonas Valanciunas to catch up. Then, Mitchell waited for Dillon Brooks to catch up. Only once double-teamed did Mitchell cap the second quarter with a 3-pointer.

It was almost as if he craved more of a challenge offensively.

Mitchell scored 26 of his 30 points in the first half as the Jazz raced away early toward a 126-110 series-ending Game 5 victory Wednesday.

Utah advances to face the winner of Clippers-Mavericks in the second round. However, Jazz starting point guard Mike Conley left tonight’s game with right hamstring soreness.

That was a rare downer for Utah.

The Jazz scored 47 points in the first quarter – the second-highest-scoring playoff first quarter in the shot-clock era. The Cavaliers scored 49 on the Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

Utah led by 15+ the final 40 minutes and as much 35.

Mitchell was brilliant offensively, scoring 30 points and dishing 11 assists in just 29 minutes. He helped several teammates get rolling – including Rudy Gobert (23 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks), Jordan Clarkson (24 points), Bogdan Bogdanovic (17 points) and Royce O’Neale (17 points).

The Grizzlies were ahead of schedule in even making the playoffs. The NBA’s youngest postseason team, Memphis has a bright future. Ja Morant (27 points and 11 assists) is progressing into stardom.

This series should serve the Grizzlies well as they grow from it. They showed fight and hung with Utah throughout much of the series.

Just not tonight, though.