Orlando • The exercise bike near the tunnel to the locker room is there or players to warm up. Donovan Mitchell used it to cool down. As the All-Star guard left the court on Sunday night, he spotted the stationary bike, reached out for it, and knocked it over in frustration.
The Utah Jazz’s 3-1 series advantage was gone after Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets had evened the series, forcing a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday night in the NBA Bubble—and Mitchell was furious.
“We’re pissed off because that was a winnable game,” he said after the 119-107 defeat. “No one is down at all. We’ve got one more game. If we’re down now, we’ve already lost Game 7. I don’t think anybody is down. I think ‘pissed’ would be the right word.”
Sunday’s Game 6 provided fans with another epic duel between Mitchell and Murray. The Jazz All-Star went for 44 points, 6 rebounds and five assists. Murray went for 50 points — the fourth time this series one of the two young stars has hit the half-century mark.
Mitchell, though, was more bothered by the stat lines for Denver’s role players.
“Jama had his 50, but he made passes and guys knocked down shots,” Mitchell said. “One, we’ve got to be aggressive on the defensive end. They kind of got a little too comfortable, even when we turned it up. At that point, as a scorer, he’s going to get going. There are times, credit to Jerami Grant, what (did he have) 18 or 20 (points)? That’s a big boost for them. (We) just got to respond. I really don’t have much else to say to be honest with you.”
The Jazz’s All-Star center Rudy Gobert showed his frustration, too, at one point kicking over a chair as he walked to the bench during a timeout. After finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds in a Game 6 defeat, Gobert was ready to channel those frustrations.
“We had two opportunities to close it out,” he said. “We lost two games, but it’s a new game. Every day is a new opportunity to accomplish something and we’re kind of the underdog from the start. If you would have told us that we were going to have an opportunity to have a Game 7, we’d take it. So let’s flush this game out, try to learn from the mistakes and be ready to play a Game 7.”
The Jazz and Nuggets tip off Game 7 on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. MT.
“We’re motivated for the next game,” Mitchell said. “Nobody said it was going to be easy. At the end of the day, they came back, credit to them. No one’s down. (We’re) ready to go. If we were to play against them right now, I think all of us would be ready. So, just locked in and ready to go.”