National Basketball Association

Like Mike

August 18

In Game 1 of the Utah Jazz's first round matchup with the Denver Nuggets, Donovan Mitchell turned in one of the great scoring performances in NBA playoff history.

However, the legendary performance from Mitchell wasn't enough to push the Jazz to victory, as they fell to the Nuggets in overtime, 135-125.

Still, the scoring barrage from Mitchell was so impressive that Chris Broussard couldn't help but evoke the name of arguably the game's greatest all-time playoff scorer. 

"When I saw this game, the first thing that came to my mind was, 'He's doing what Michael Jordan did.'"

On April 20, 1986, in Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls' first round matchup with Larry Bird's Boston Celtics, Jordan lit up Boston Garden to the tune of 63 points.

Jordan is first all-time in playoff average (33.4) and second all-time in total playoff points (5,987), meaning Mitchell has a long way to go in order to truly be compared to His Airness.

But for one night – morning, actually – Mitchell stood beside Air Jordan, in more ways than one. 

Mitchell scored the third most points ever in a playoff game, but joined MJ as the only other player to have such a night and earn an 'L.'

And the parallels don't end there.

Both Jordan and Mitchell were 23 at the time of their playoff career-high performances, and both were the underdogs in a first round series – Jordan's Bulls were the 8th seed and Mitchell's Jazz are the 6th seed in this year's playoffs. 

In addition, both suffered their separate losses in overtime. 

Mitchell was a first time All-Star this season, averaging 24.0 points per game, but even with his pedigree, Shannon Sharpe was shocked by Mitchell's performance.

"I did not see this coming. I saw him getting it going early and said he might get high 30s, maybe 40. I didn't see 57."

The Jazz and Nuggets are set to square off in Game 2 of their first round series on Wednesday, with Mitchell looking to do one thing that Jordan couldn't – win the subsequent game after scoring a playoff career-high.


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