Los Angeles • If Donovan Mitchell owned the first quarter Friday, the second belonged to Jordan Clarkson.
The Sixth Man of the Year flipped the switch on “Flamethrower Mode” and scored 17 straight Jazz points in the period, going into halftime with 21 himself, as the Utah Jazz surged to a 72-50 lead at the break.
The Jazz went a collective 58.7% from the field and an electric 12 of 19 from 3-point range (63.2%).
Now, can they keep it up in the second half this game?
Donovan Mitchell, hobbled by a sprained ankle, nevertheless hit 8 of 14 shots and 5 of 7 from deep for a game-high 22 points.
Utah’s defense was much-improved, too, as the Clippers shot just 41.9% overall and went 6 of 20 from 3.
Mike Conley, playing his first game of the series, was limited to just 12 minutes, and totaled two points and one assist.
Hobbled Donovan Mitchell goes off early as Jazz lead Clippers 33-31 after first quarter
Donovan Mitchell is clearly in pain and at less than his best.
Which made his first-quarter performance of Game 6 at Staples Center all the more remarkable.
He drove to the hoop, he put on crossover moves, he fired away from 3 — and he played all but the final 2.3 seconds of the period, scoring 16 points to power the Utah Jazz to a 33-31 lead over the host Clippers.
Mitchell shot 6 of 11 overall, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Utah as a team was 6 of 9 from deep.
Terance Mann, starting in place of the injured Kawhi Leonard, took advantage of some lax Jazz defense to score 12 quick points for the Clippers.