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Tension from Sunday’s bizarre events? Winning fixes everything

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Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder talks with Donovan Mitchell in Salt Lake City.

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder talks with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) as the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies play Game 2 of their NBA playoffs first round series at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Jazz Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Thursday.

There is one universal truth in the sports world: Winning fixes everything.

That’s an important thing to remember as the Utah Jazz continue on their playoff run.

Donovan Mitchell was unexpectedly ruled out from playing in Game 1 of Utah’s first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. The All-Star guard was not quiet about his frustration and he was subsequently cleared the next day to play in Wednesday’s Game 2.

Mitchell was restricted to playing just under 26 minutes, had a great outing and is hopeful that his ankle will hold up through the postseason. Perhaps even more importantly though, the Jazz beat the Grizzlies, 141-129, to even the series after dropping Game 1.

There were numerous reports of tension between Mitchell and his own personal trainers and the Jazz medical staff after he was a late scratch for Game 1. Those reports could have some fans worrying the tensions could reach a boiling point.

There are two important things to take into account. One, Mitchell has been known to get frustrated and air those frustrations before later cooling off and seeing a bit more reason. Two, winning is the salve that can heal all wounds.

Remember when Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and then Mitchell became the second player to test positive? Mitchell was reportedly so angry that it had some people calling their relationship “unsalvageable.” But later, they hashed out their differences, Mitchell cooled off, and when the team was winning games, rising to the top of the NBA standings this season, all those rumors seemed to be forgotten.

Mitchell is back on the court, and though it’s clear he needs to be cautious with the ankle, the team won on Wednesday. If the Jazz continue to win and are able to make a deep playoff run, it’s likely that tensions will be eased and that all will be forgotten about the bizarre events from Sunday.

New with the Jazz

Stat of the week

Mike Conley dished out 15 assists in the Jazz’s Game 2 win over the Grizzlies. It’s the first time a Jazz player has gotten 15 assists in a game since Trey Burke in 2014 and the first Jazz playoff game with 15 assists since Deron Williams in 2009.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Every Wednesday the “Unsalvageable” crew of Sarah Todd, Jazz beat reporter for the Deseret News, and Greg Foster, a lifelong Jazz fan, come out with a full length episode. This week they covered Jordan Clarkson winning Sixth Man of the Year and previewed Game 2. But, that doesn’t mean there’s not new content to listen to. There’s also bonus game-recap episodes the day after every playoff game.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

This week in Jazz history

On May 22, 2020, Jerry Sloan died at the age of 78. A year later the Jazz were able to pay tribute to the longtime head coach at Vivint Arena with fans in attendance. On Sunday, the Jazz displayed an empty seat at the arena with a jersey and flowers and played a tribute video, paying respect to Sloan, during Game 1 of the Jazz’s first-round series against the Grizzlies.

Extra points

  • Ja Morant’s career night after Rudy Gobert’s monumental rejection shows Memphis will continue to relentlessly attack (Deseret News)
  • Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert bookend Utah Jazz’s hard-fought Game 2 victory over Grizzlies (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • This high tech tool is helping the Jazz keep their loud home-court advantage in playoffs (Deseret News)

Around the league

Sixers fan dumps popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he exits court.

The New York Knicks earned their first playoff win since 2013, even series with Hawks.

Up next: NBA playoffs

May 29 | 7:30 p.m. | Game 3 at Memphis Grizzlies | ESPN

May 31 | 7:30 p.m. | Game 4 at Memphis Grizzlies | TNT

June 2 | TBD | Game 5 vs. Memphis Grizzlies | TBD

June. 4 | TBD | * Game 6 at Memphis Grizzlies | TBD

June 6 | TBD | * Game 7 vs. Memphis Grizzlies | TBD

* Game if necessary