The margin for error is so small in the playoffs, and that’s why the mental gaffe by Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell has been drawing so much buzz, as it may have cost his team a potential win on Monday afternoon.
Game 1 of the playoff series between the Jazz and Nuggets featured a number of lead changes, but Utah controlled the tempo and score late.
At one point in the game, with under two minutes remaining, it sure looked like the Jazz were in position to close the game out. Mitchell was tasked with bringing the ball up the court, but he did so leisurely, and was called for an eight-second violation. The Jazz were enjoying a four-point lead at this time, with only 1:39 remaining, and a bucket could’ve potentially put the game away.
Instead, Jamal Murray made Mitchell pay for his mistake by draining a three-pointer, and the Nuggets went on to win, 135-125, in overtime.
Mitchell admitted he made a big mistake in speaking to reporters after the game, and he blamed himself for the loss in doing so.
“That’s my fault as a leader and as a point guard at that time,” Mitchell said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com. “That’s terrible on my part.
“I kind of put that … there’s really no one else to put it on. I was just taking my time walking it up, and I’ve got to be more aware. I think that was a crucial part of the game. At the end of the day, I’m not going to put it all on that one play, but that was a crucial part.”
Mistakes like that simply cannot happen in the playoffs, as sometimes one mental error can completely swing an entire series, and it’s possible that’s what may end up happening here. Time will tell.