After suffering a tough loss to the Denver Nuggets in overtime in Game 1, the Utah Jazz got back on track on Wednesday afternoon. Jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first half, they absolutely dominated after the break, coasting to a comfortable 124-105 win to even the series at 1-1.
Coming off a historic 57-point performance in Game 1, Donovan Mitchell kept up his strong play, finishing with 30 points and eight assists on a super-efficient 10 of 14 from the field. Though only in his third season, this is MItchell's third trip to the playoffs, and he's extremely comfortable under the spotlight. With Bogdan Bogdanovic out for the season, and Mike Conley away attending to the birth of his child, there's even more pressure on Mitchell early in this series, and his first two games have been outstanding.
The rest of the Jazz followed suit in Game 2, carving up Denver's lackluster defense to the tune of 51.7 percent from the field. Jordan Clarkson went for 28 points to provide a boost off the bench, Rudy Gobert added 19 and the Jazz and assisted on 32 of their 45 made field goals. With only six turnovers to boot, it was as close to a perfect offensive performance as you can get.
Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. led the way for the Nuggets in defeat, going for 28 points each, but Denver's problem wasn't on the offensive end. And given all of their talent, that's almost never going to be the case. If they keep playing defense like they have been in the bubble, however, it's going to be tough for them to win consistently. They were the worst defensive team in the seeding games, giving up 121.7 points per 100 possessions, and that trend has only continued through the first two games against Utah.