Donovan Mitchell will be hoping to lead the Utah Jazz in their crucial NBA Playoffs Game 4 matchup against the LA Clippers on Monday night. The 24-year-old point guard has been Utah's focal point on offense throughout the series and is currently averaging 37.3 points across the first three games.
On Saturday, however, Mitchell was limited to 32 minutes after limping off the court in the fourth quarter with his side down by 11 points. The injury appeared to be to the same ankle that caused him to miss the Utah Jazz's last 15 games of the regular season.
After the matchup, Donovan Mitchell was confident in his ability to return in Game 4. However, there will be considerable worry for the Jazz fanbase if he has aggravated the previous injury he had.
Why Donovan Mitchell is essential to the Utah Jazz' success in the 2021 NBA playoffs
Donovan Mitchell has taken it upon himself to be the Utah Jazz leader on offense with his backcourt partner Mike Conley sidelined. Mitchell has attempted more field-goal and three-point efforts in the Utah Jazz's series with the LA Clippers than in their first-round matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. He has also improved his efficiency, shooting at 50% from the field and at 48.5% from downtown.
His standout performance so far was in a tightly-fought Game 1, where Mitchell scored 45 points as the Jazz prevailed by three over their opponents. In that game, he had a +/- of five and shot at 53% from the field.
With Mike Conley currently questionable for Game 4, it is vital for the Utah Jazz that Donovan Mitchell plays. Back on home court, the LA Clippers were ruthless on Saturday, with Mitchell's 30 points not enough to overcome Kawhi Leonard and Paul George's efforts.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder spoke after the game about his decision to keep Mitchell out toward the end of the fourth quarter:
"He's in good shape. He could have gone back in the game, but at that point, the lead had stretched. In fact, while we were talking, I think Kawhi hit a 3. That was my decision not to put him back in at that point. The game had gotten away from us at that point, but he's fine."
It appears then that Mitchell should be good to go on Monday night. He has been on a mission all year to prove doubters wrong and did a stellar job of doing so - averaging career-high points and assists during the regular season campaign.
If the Utah Jazz are going to have any chance of keeping up with the LA Clippers' two elite scorers, they will need Mitchell on the court. He ranks third among all players in the playoffs for points and has a +/- of 6.1 so far in the postseason.