Donovan Mitchell confirms reported tension with Jazz after missing Game 1

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell admitted he was upset with the team for holding him out of Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Donovan Mitchell was miffed with the Utah Jazz for keeping him out against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

That’s not just based on reporting from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim MacMahon, who claimed Mitchell was “incensed” with the decision that “deepened tensions with the team.”

Mitchell himself has confirmed the story.

“I was frustrated and upset. I was ready to go. I was ready to go,” Mitchell said, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

It’s never a good sign when a star player and a team fighting for an NBA title aren’t on the same page. Still, Mitchell wasn’t interested in lingering over the disagreement.

“The biggest thing is moving forward. We got s**t to handle,” he said.

Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz need to get back in sync

Mitchell has been on the mend from the ankle injury he suffered on April 16. He missed the final 16 games of the regular season with an eye on returning in time for the postseason.

It was close, but Utah opted not to risk him in Game 1. The consequence of that decision was harsh. The No. 1-seeded Jazz were upset 112-109 on their home floor by the No. 8-seeded Grizzlies.

Since he would have been returning from a long injury absence, there’s no telling how sharp Mitchell might have been in that game. Still, a three-point deficit looks like it would have been easier to overcome with the team’s leading scorer in the lineup.

Mitchell averaged a career-best 26.4 points and 5.2 assists per game in the regular season. He was the driving force behind Utah’s 52-20 record to lead the Western Conference.

The Jazz have already confirmed Mitchell will take part in Game 2 on Wednesday. The pressure to recover from that opening loss will be sizable.

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