Donovan Mitchell joins elite company with huge performance to help Jazz advance

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After producing an incredible regular season in his rookie year, Utah Jazz sensation Donovan Mitchell has taken his game to new heights by owning the playoffs.

Featuring in his first ever postseason series, the youngster wasn't fazed by the moment and inspired the Jazz to an opening round win over the Oklahoma City Thunder as they closed it out on Friday night.

Thanks to another outstanding display from the 21-year-old, Utah is heading to the second round to face the Houston Rockets after a 96-91 victory at home saw them overcome OKC in six games.

Mitchell ended the night with 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting from the field and constantly stepped up big when his team needed him.

The rookie seems to thrive in the biggest moments and put the Jazz on his back during a remarkable third quarter.

He was red-hot in the period as he shot 8-of-9 and put up 22 points and had a personal duel with MVP Russell Westbrook.

Mitchell explained after the game how head coach Quin Snyder gave him the confidence to go out and produce a memorable game with an encouraging message.

"We're going to win this game and you're going to go off," Mitchell said his coach told him, per ESPN. "When you got a coach telling you that, your mindset changes and maybe you don't need to be nervous anymore."

The Louisville product put himself in esteemed company as he racked up multiple milestones on the night with his impressive performance.

He joined the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only rookies in NBA History to score 20 points in each of their first six career playoff games.

As well as that feat, he also became the third rookie over the last 35 years to have multiple 30-point games in a playoff series, joining Alonzo Mourning and Michael Jordan, per ESPN.

If that wasn't good enough, he's also the fourth rookie in league history to notch 35+ points in a playoff series-clinching win - only Wilt Chamberlain (53 points), Abdul-Jabbar (46 points), and Magic Johnson (42 points) have recorded more.

At one point, the shooting guard made 10 straight shots and just appeared to be having the night of his life.

"I don't know if you've noticed but I smile through everything," said Mitchell. "I was in a different mode. It was crazy."

To produce at this level in just his first year shows that Mitchell is truly a superstar in the making and having lost Gordon Hayward in the summer, the Jazz will be thankful they didn't have to wait long to find a replacement.

With the Rockets now waiting in the wings on Sunday, the young phenomenon can write another chapter in his fairytale story this season.

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Joe Ingles
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Rudy Gobert

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