Donovan Mitchell is so confident the Utah Jazz will win Game 6 of their first-round series with the Thunder that he’s already bidding farewell to Oklahoma City’s fans.
For a while on Wednesday night, it looked as if the Jazz would be finishing off the Thunder with a gentleman’s sweep. They jumped out to a 25-point lead. Neither Joe Ingles nor Jae Crowder could miss. The Thunder were falling apart defensively. Russell Westbrook was having another bad game. The stars appeared to have aligned.
But then superhuman Russell Westbrook happened.
Oklahoma City’s point man outscored Utah’s entire team on his own over the final 20 minutes and 30 seconds while both Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert battled foul trouble. Paul George hit his fair share of big-time shots, and the Jazz suffered from a string of missed looks and turnovers.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Thunder had won. Their reward: a Game 6 in Utah on Friday night, with a chance to force a Game 7 on their own turf.
Only, Mitchell doesn’t think he and the Jazz will give them that chance. He told Oklahoma City’s fans as much while walking off the court:
— Gabe Ikard (@GabeIkard) April 26, 2018
Okay, so, this is absolutely hysterical at first watch. You have to love Mitchell’s confidence. It’s not the least bit surprising. He knifes into the heart of the defenses with reckless abandon. He isn’t about to shy away from rowdy fans.
At the same time, this won’t be the best look if the Thunder actually force a Game 7. It’ll look even worse if they end up winning the series. Not in the sense that Mitchell’s reputation will be damaged (it shouldn’t be), but in the sense he’ll become a walking punchline for this proclamation gone awry.
Utah’s hoping it doesn’t come to that. All of Oklahoma City, on the other hand, is crossing its fingers that Mitchell is wrong. And if he is, just imagine the greeting he’ll get when the Jazz and Thunder square off for a potential winner-take-all Game 7.