The Utah Jazz didn’t play very well in the first half of Game 1 on Tuesday night. Down by 13 at the interval, they were needing something to kick them in the right direction. That something was Donovan Mitchell, who had not played nor felt well during the first half. No problem come the second, though, as he went off. After the break, Mitchell scored 32 points, adding to the 13 he had in the ‘down’ first half.
They had overturned that 13-point deficit by the time the fourth quarter was set to begin, and they overcame their visitors to take an important 112-109 win that saw them keep the home-court advantage. Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Clippers with 23 in the loss. In the other game of the evening, the Philadelphia 76ers saw an MVP-like performance from Joel Embiid on a day in which he was denied MVP honors by Nikola Jokic. The center scored 40 points on 13-25 shooting, including some impressive long-range shots, while also grabbing 13 rebounds. The Sixers had been in danger for a stretch of going two games down to the Atlanta Hawks at home, but they fought back in a big way with their big man leading the charge. The series will now swing to the ATL where the Hawks will hope to take full advantage of the victory they took from Game 1 and add to it to keep up an improbable run.