Donovan Mitchell is an amazing basketball player. He followed up a 45-point Game 1 performance with a 37-point Game 2 performance. He’s emerging as a superstar and leaving those who questioned him in the dust.

When a player of Mitchell’s caliber is on a team, it can be very easy to rely on him to do everything. Always be the one to take over, to be the one to hit a timely bucket, to be the one to pull you out of a slump.

“I completely trust my teammates. It was no surprise to see them go out there get stops, score and get us up 10. Joe stepped up big time, Bojan stepped up his defense, Royce has been a dog this whole series, we all know Rudy, having 20 boards. But like, the biggest thing is that we keep doing it collectively.” — Donovan Mitchell

What’s special about this Jazz team is that even with a player like Mitchell, there is so much trust, and each player on the roster is so unselfish that he doesn’t have to carry the pressure of being the guy. And, Mitchell’s willingness to not always be in the spotlight actually makes him better and even more impressive.

The Jazz were down by two with 6:26 left to play after Reggie Jackson hit a second straight 3-pointer. The Jazz called timeout and subbed Joe Ingles in for Mitchell. It was just supposed to be a short breather. Mitchell sat at the scorers table right out of the timeout, ready to check in at the next dead ball. 

But then Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic hit big shots to retake the lead. Mitchell subbed back in, but he would only score three points the rest of the way. More big plays by Ingles, Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert were a part of the Jazz’s 18-10 run to close the game in the 117-111 win over the LA Clippers.

“I completely trust my teammates,” Mitchell said. “It was no surprise to see them go out there get stops, score and get us up 10. Joe stepped up big time, Bojan stepped up his defense, Royce has been a dog this whole series, we all know Rudy, having 20 boards. But like, the biggest thing is that we keep doing it collectively.”

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There are many teams that rely on their biggest stars to take over when the pressure of the game is at its highest and Mitchell is capable of doing that. He’s done it many times and will do it many more in his career. But with this Jazz team, he doesn’t have to.

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You only have to look at the team the Jazz are playing in the Western Conference semifinals to see what it’s like when there is so much reliance on one player. The Clippers were not going to win a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks without Kawhi Leonard being a hero. If the Jazz continue to contain Leonard, the Clippers are unlikely to make it out of this second-round series. They need him to be special and great every game, every quarter, every minute.

“I don’t feel like I have to go out there and do everything,” Mitchell said. “That’s a credit to the guys we have on this team because they can go out to make plays. Everybody’s elevating their game.”

The Jazz have had big contributions from up and down the roster through these playoffs and while the level of play has been a welcomed surprise in some instances, the fact that they are winning collectively is not a surprise.

“The beauty of this team is that we’ve got a lot of guys that can handle the ball and make plays and obviously make shots and stuff like that,” Ingles said. “That’s the beauty of our team and it has been all year.”

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