Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Donovan Mitchell leads balanced offence as Jazz stick to strengths to take commanding 3-1 series lead

It was close once again late, like it has been in nearly every game this series, but the Jazz played like the experienced squad they are and came out on top to extend their series lead to 3-1.

The Jazz led for most of the second half of this game, with nearly all of the 11 lead changes and seven ties coming in the first half, but the Grizzlies kept it competitive and ensured it never turned into a blowout.

Utah pulled out a 120-113 win, led by Donovan Mitchells's 30 points and eight assists and showed that Game 1 was just a bump in the road and not a sign of things to come as they have now won three straight games since.

That said, here's a quick look at the biggest takeaways:

Mitchell, Clarkson spark big 3rd quarter

The Jazz began to create separation with one of their best quarters of the series in the third period of this game.

They scored 41 points, outscoring the Grizzlies by eight, with a majority of those points coming from the guard duo of Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson.

The duo scored (20) or assisted on 27 of the team's 41 third-quarter points, with Clarkson scoring 10 of the team's last 12 points in the period.

Morant leads from front again

Although they have been known for their defence, the Jazz have had no answer for Ja Morant this season. Coming into this game, he had averaged 33.7 points for the series.

In this game, with his long-range shots not falling (1-7 3Ps), he couldn't score as much but he remained effective by posting his first career playoff double-double with a playoff career-high 12 assists.

He finished the game as the team's highest scorer with 23 as Memphis also received valuable contributions from Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr., scoring 21 points apiece.

Jazz stick to strengths

The young Grizzlies put up a fight once again and just like the previous two games, the Jazz withstood their runs and came out on top by sticking to their strengths of balanced offensive production and efficient 3-point shooting.

As a team, seven Jazz players scored eight or more.

All-Stars Mike Conley (11 points, seven assists) and Rudy Gobert (17 points, eight rebounds, two blocks) posted near double-doubles while Jordan Clarkson sparked the squad with 24 points in 22 minutes off the bench. The trio of Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O'Neale and Derrick Favours combined for 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the field.

After a subpar 3-point shooting display in Game 1, Utah have found and maintained their efficient touch from beyond the arc.

The league's best 3-point shooting team in makes and efficiency during the regular season, knocked down 17 3-pointers at a 50.0 percent efficiency in Game 4 after averaging 19 makes on 46.3 percent shooting in the previous two games.

Melton catches fire

Coming into this game, De'Anthony Melton totaled 10 points on an average 14.3 minutes per game this series. During the regular season, on an average of 20.1 minutes per game in 52 appearances, he was one of nine Grizzlies to average nine points or more

However, in Game 4, he caught fire and provided the Grizzlies with the offensive ammunition to keep it competitive in the fourth quarter.

He scored all of his 15 points in the final period, all of them part of the team's first 19 in the period.

While the Grizzlies dominated the paint, outscoring the Jazz 64-40, he provided the outside shooting that didn't let the game get out of hand early in the fourth.

What's next?

Despite the change in scenery as the series shifts back to Salt Lake City for Game 5, it's a short turnaround as the next game tips off at 7:00 a.m. IST on Thursday, June 3.

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