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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: 'I think we can play even better' says Donovan Mitchell after the Utah Jazz's inspiring Game 4 win

Donovan Mitchell
(Getty Images)

The Utah Jazz kept their season alive in Game 4, staving off elimination thanks to some fourth-quarter heroics from Donovan Mitchell.

While they still have plenty of work to do, trailing the Houston Rockets 3-1, Mitchell believes the Jazz's team-first mentality will help take their game to another level in Game 5.

"We've had our backs against the walls plenty of times in the past two years that we have been together as a team," Mitchell said post-game.

"This is familiar ground with us. Everybody responded the way we expected them to but the biggest thing for us is to take what we did today and multiply it because I think we can play even better. I think we can do different things better. They [Houston Rockets] got a few open looks but if we continue to play with the effort and intensity that we played with tonight and Game 3, anything can happen."

Sitting on the podium alongside Rudy Gobert, Jae Crowder and Derrick Favors, Mitchell who scored 13 of the Jazz's points in their decisive 15-1 run in the opening three minutes of the fourth, emphasised just how important the support from his teammates is to giving him the confidence to go out and have a performance like Game 4.

"I play with a lot of close friends. The support I have gotten since I arrived, not just from the community but also from my teammates, has been huge," he continued.

"Me being able to do what I do on a daily basis is not the norm in this league for a second-year player or even as a first-year guy last year. My teammates have had my back with every mistake, with everything I have done well. When you have that support system, not just my teammates but coaches in the organization as well, it makes it easier.

"It makes it easier when you start the game with two straight turnovers. Jae is sometimes vocal or sometimes it's leading by example, with Rudy sometimes it's vocal or sometimes it's leading by example. I've asked Kyle [Korver] a thousand questions since he has been here just about whatever. Being down 0-3, we had a talk. Ekpe [Udoh] has been great. I have so many resources I can go to and as a player who wants to learn, I'm trying my best to learn. It's not always going to be perfect but to have your teammates have your back through the ups and downs, it means the world."

It was indeed a team effort. While Mitchell picked up the scoring load, the bigs - Gobert and Favors - punished the Rockets in the paint. The Jazz dominated the glass and in the paint, outrebounding the Rockets by 17 and outscoring them by 30 points in the paint.

Gobert struggled with foul trouble early, picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, paving the way for Derrick Favors to close out the game and he more than stepped up, dragging down offensive rebound after rebound, executing coach Quin Snyder's game plan to perfection.

"They [Rockets] play pretty small a lot, so coach wanted me and Rudy to basically get the offensive rebounds, protect the paint, and when we get a chance for any pick-and-roll action with Donovan, Ricky or Joe, we had to get the ball in the paint and score. Just take advantage of our size and it's working for us," he said.

Favors was immense for the Jazz in the fourth quarter, with Rockets guard James Harden acknowledging how difficult he made things down the stretch with his physicality in the paint.

"We went small in our line-up and Favors was getting his hands on the rebounds and tip outs and things like that," Harden said.

"Whenever we do go small in that line-up, we need to make sure we put a body on him and get the rebound. That was the game. I think they got three offensive rebounds in a row.

"We played pretty good defence, but it's just draining when you play good defence and give up offensive rebounds. We'll be better individually and as a group and be ready."

The Jazz still have their backs against the wall, as they look to stave off elimination yet again in Game 5 in Houston on Wednesday.

The question is, can they repeat their heroics from Game 4 on the road?

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