It was a tale of two halves for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, but he ended on a high note.
After scoring just two first-half points, Mitchell dropped 30 in the second half en route to leading the Jazz to a 99-93 road win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series on Saturday.
The struggle was real on offense for the Jazz and Mavs, the latter of whom was without superstar point guard Luka Doncic (strained left calf).
For Utah, the first half was a disaster for Mitchell and any Jazz player not named Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Everyone else on Utah managed just 25 points on 9-of-31 shooting combined.
Thanks to the Mavs' own struggles, the Jazz actually led at half 45-43, but Mitchell surprisingly could not get going.
Mac Engel @MacEngelProf
At this point <a href="https://twitter.com/luka7doncic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@luka7doncic</a> is outplaying Donovan Mitchell<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFFL</a>
The narrative completely changed after halftime, though, as Mitchell tore through the Mavs for 19 third-quarter points.
In fact, he nearly outscored Dallas by himself in the third quarter (22-19). If not for a Reggie Bullock three in the final minute, they would have been tied at 19.
It was pretty much a one-person show:
Mitchell's emergence was a huge problem for the Doncic-less Mavs, who understandably couldn't generate much offensive success without their superstar guard.
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Donovan Mitchell came to life in the third quarter with a rim-attacking 19 points, while the hosts’ Luka-less offense is stalling: 6-for-23 on 3s and sub-40-percent shooting overall in an increasing struggle to create quality shots. Utah takes a 73-65 lead into the fourth. <a href="https://t.co/JrGIGZE8FE">https://t.co/JrGIGZE8FE</a>
The Mavs couldn't make much of a dent early in the fourth quarter, where Mitchell added another 11 points.
However, the Mavs cut the lead to 92-91 with 2:12 left after a Maxi Kleber three-pointer. After a stop, Kleber had another shot at a three but missed. Royce O'Neale made a three on the other end, and the Jazz kept their distance from there.
Mitchell and the Jazz will look to take a 2-0 series lead when they play Dallas on Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET.