The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell had a ridiculous performance to open up the 2020 NBA playoff slate. So ridiculous in fact, that it eerily resembled Michael Jordan’s career-best playoff stat line.
Although the Jazz fell in overtime to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their playoff series by a score of 135-125, it was of no fault of Mitchell himself. The 23-year-old scored 57 points on 19-of-33 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Not only is that the third-highest point total in a playoff game in NBA history, it’s just six points behind Michael Jordan’s 63 points versus the Boston Celtics back in 1986– the biggest mark in a single game in playoff history. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that Jordan took two overtimes to rack up his point total; it took Mitchell just one overtime period.
And just like Jordan, Mitchell’s team fell short despite his massive point total.
Per a @StatHead search, Donovan Mitchell is the youngest player to score 50+ in a playoff game since Michael Jordan's 63 vs. the Celtics.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 17, 2020
The only other player in NBA history to score more than Mitchell in a playoff game was Elgin Baylor, who scored 61 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics. Unlike Jordan and Mitchell, Baylor led his team to victory.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 17, 2020
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray — who scored 10 of his 36 points in the decisive overtime period — had a simple, but honest reaction to his rival’s worldly performance in Game 1.
Murray: “And Mitchell had… what, 57? GODDAMN, D!”
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) August 17, 2020
Mitchell was named an All-Star for the first time in his career this season. The young guard posted career-highs across the board in points per game (24.0), field goal percentage (.449), 3-point percentage (.366), free-throw percentage (.863), rebounds per game (4.4) and assists per game (4.3).
Mitchell will look to continue his strong start to the series by leading the Jazz to a victory in Game 2 on Wednesday.