Yet when Game 4 of the opening-round playoff series between Utah and Denver was said and done, it was Mitchell and the Jazz who had the last laugh — and critical 3-1 series advantage in hand.
Mitchell, Murray each drop 50 in Game 4
The two 23-year-olds combined for 101 points in the game, and did so as evenly as it could have possibly been done.
Murray dropped 50 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Nuggets, and went off from the 3-point line. He went 9-of-15 from behind the arc, accounting for more than half of Denver’s made 3-point buckets.
It was Mitchell, however, who edged ahead at the very end.
Mitchell put up 51 points — 18 came in the final seven minutes of the game — and hit a big 3-pointer in the final minute to put Utah back in control.
Mitchell shot 15-of-27 from the field and missed just one of his 18 free-throw attempts in the win.
It marked the second time in this series that Mitchell had scored at least 50 points, too — he dropped 57 in their 135-125 overtime loss in Game 1 — which puts him in an elite class of players. Mitchell joined Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in league history who have scored at least 50 points more than once in a single playoff series.
That, though, didn’t mean too much to him when he was asked about it after the game.
“They won. I haven’t done anything yet to be honest with you,” Mitchell said after the game on TNT when asked about that milestone. “All we did was win Game 4. Fifty is 50, but we’re looking to close the series out. I’m honored to be in that category, don’t get me wrong, and I’m very humbled and blessed, but we still got one more game left.”
Murray and Mitchell are also the first opponents in NBA history to each score 50 in a single playoff game.
Game 5 of the series is scheduled for Tuesday, where the Jazz can officially upset the No. 3-seeded Nuggets with a win and advance in the postseason.
“We cant let up,” Mitchell said on TNT. “We knew they were going to come out with aggression and fight, but we can’t be complacent. They’re going to be even more hungry for next game to get the next one, but we’ve got to stay locked in and do what we do.
“We showed a hell of an effort, but we gave up 127 points. There’s stuff we can fix. And for us to win that game, with stuff that we didn’t really do too well on, that’s impressive.”
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