Today in Sports History: August 17

In 2020,  Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points in a 135-125 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the first round of the Western Conference NBA Playoffs. That total broke the Jazz’s single-game playoff scoring mark held by Karl Malone who scored 50 points in 2000 vs. Seattle. Mitchell’s performance marked the third-most points scored in an NBA playoff game, trailing only Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61). 

The 13th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Mitchell has elevated the Jazz to becoming one of the best teams in the stacked NBA Western Conference. For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the Jazz came out of the regular season as the first seed in the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, the playoff luck has not been in Utah’s favor. In the past two years the team faced two brutal first round and second round exits. In 2020, the Jazz lost a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the first round followed by a second round exit to the Clippers in 2021. The Jazz had a commanding 2-0 lead against the Clippers, but saw their hopes dwindle away as the Clippers won the next four games. With Mitchell committed through the 2025-26 season, the future looks bright for the Jazz’s young core of talented players.

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