Whether you’re an official or the opposing team, take this as a warning, it’s no longer a good idea to piss off Donovan Mitchell when he has a basketball in his hand.

Unfortunately for the Chicago Bulls, they found out the hard way on Wednesday night — and it wasn’t even their fault.

Normally remarkably even-keeled, Mitchell found himself out of his norm early in the third quarter against the Bulls. After feeling as if he was fouled on consecutive possessions, plays that led to buckets for Chicago, Mitchell thought it best to voice his frustration with the officials.

“I feel like I’d had some (no-calls) last game and the game before that where I wasn’t getting those calls,” Mitchell said. “I just had to sound off because it was getting ridiculous.”

Sound off, he did.

While he didn’t reveal exactly what was said to official Marat Kogut, Mitchell knew that he reached the point of no return and decided to “get his money’s worth.” After continuing to voice his displeasure for nearly 10 seconds — while Chicago hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 66 — Kogut had heard enough and blew his whistle.

Mitchell was promptly — and arguably deservingly — assessed a technical foul. Although the score remained tied after Zach LaVine missed the ensuing free throw, the damage had been done, and Mitchell had been ignited, much to the chagrin of the Bulls.

Over the final 5:07 of the third quarter, Mitchell scored 17 points by knocking down five three-pointers, the last one putting Vivint Arena at a deafening level as the Jazz rallied for an eight-point lead. During that time, the only shot he missed was a stepback three-pointer from 29-feet away at the end of the quarter.

When asked postgame about the play in question, the typically playful and stoic Mitchell let loose on a passionate and extremely valid speech.

“I’m intentionally trying to get to the basket, get to the free-throw line and I’m air-balling layups. … That’s not me,” Mitchell said. “At that point, I just had to sound off because it was just getting ridiculous. … I feel like I had some last game and the game before that when I wasn’t getting those calls. I’m not going to make this like solely a ‘Donovan being officiated different’ thing, but I do feel like there are times when I don’t get to those calls. … I was tired of it.”

Mitchell’s qualms with the officiating were a good point as the 6-foot-3 guard is one of the elite finishers in the league. He does a phenomenal job of using his change of pace, direction, and strength to maneuver through the paint with relative ease, often attacking downhill with such a vengeance that it’s the defense’s best interest to get out of the way.

But where Mitchell is unique is that he’s not attacking downhill just to score — it’s a key component of Utah’s offense as he has the vision to find open shooters when he can’t get his shot off.

His frustration wasn’t based on not scoring, but rather the non-calls leading to turnovers that negatively affect the team. He understands that for a Jazz team that plays with such momentum, turnovers of that nature are killers and can’t keep happening.

“I am tired of it because I’m working to get downhill and try to create our offense, not even to get to the bucket to score, but just to draw the defense and kick because that’s what our offense is predicated on,” he said. “I’m constantly being hand checked or stopped with two hands because I’m so strong. … That can’t keep continuing to happen. It leads to turnovers, bad shots. … It puts everyone in a bad spot.”

While it’s rarely good to get a technical, Mitchell’s burst of emotion ended up being a blessing in disguise.

He set career-highs in points (25) and three-pointers made (7) in the quarter, but did so in the final 8:11 of the third. His 9-for 15 shooting from beyond the arc overall tied his career-high in made threes, while the seven he made in the third was a Utah franchise record for made three-pointers in a quarter.

Altogether, Mitchell finished with 37 points on 12-for-22 shooting with five assists and three rebounds.

Despite the roars from Vivint Arena every time he touched the ball, Mitchell acknowledged that when in that sort of zone, he didn’t recognize any of it. He had one mission on his mind, and Kogut and the Bulls happened to be the victims of one of Utah’s most impressive stretches of basketball.

“I didn’t know it was 25, it didn’t feel like 25. … It felt like I could have kept going,” Mitchell said. “To be honest, it was just me and the ref out there. I didn’t hear or see anything else just because I was so in it at that point.”


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