After barging in on his teammate’s post-game interview, Joe Ingles walked off camera and told a joke.
“I don’t think you’re a superstar,” he deadpanned.
Donovan Mitchell, of course, had heard that one before.
And with performances like the one he had Saturday night in Orlando, Mitchell keeps having the last laugh.
The All-Star guard led his team to a 124-109 road win over the Magic, scoring 25 of his team-high 31 points in the second half. It was the second time in just over 24 hours that Mitchell had put at least 30 points on the board.
“I thought this was one of Donovan’s best games of the year,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t know what he had at halftime but he kept playing efficiently, and as he continued to pick his spots, the game opened up.”
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The Jazz looked a little tired after arriving in central Florida around 3 a.m., following Friday night’s loss in Miami.
But there were other reasons for Mitchell’s slow start.
“The biggest thing was just finding out how they were guarding me,” Mitchell said. “I had a few lapses, a few bad shots in the first half, but it wasn’t about making or missing. I thought they were going to be in drop coverage and they blitzed. It kind of took me by surprise.”
With his team up 54-50 coming out of the locker room at halftime, it was Mitchell’s turn to go on the aggressive. The All-Star scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and dished out three assists in the third quarter, to help his team pull away for good and cruise to their 27th win of the year.
“I think he did a great job being a playmaker especially in the first half. Not forcing, finding his teammates,” All-Star center Rudy Gobert said. “And then when it was time to be in attack mode, he attacked. He was very efficient. When he does that, he takes our team to another level.”
For Mitchell, Saturday marked the 11th time in his career he had scored 25-plus points in a half. All of those performances have come in second halves of games.
“We kind of expect that from him, I guess,” Ingles said. “He’s a superstar.”
The Jazz are now a league-leading 27-7 on the year as they approach the halfway point of the season.
And given Mitchell’s M.O., there are even better things to come.
The Jazz head to New Orleans to face off against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Monday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.