Mitchell: Jazz's elimination will 'eat at me for a long time'
"It hasn't fully sunk in for me yet. I'm still in shock. ... I don't know what I'm going to be doing next week," Mitchell said postgame, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. "Probably watching the games, mad as hell. This hurts more than last year. This is gonna eat at me for a long time."
Mitchell almost didn't play at all Friday after being listed as a game-time decision due to an ankle injury that hampered him all series. The 24-year-old ended up leading the Jazz in scoring with 39 points alongside nine rebounds and nine assists in 40 minutes, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Clippers' second-half surge.
Utah was also eliminated disappointingly in the bubble last year. After taking a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the first round, the Jazz lost the next three as the Nuggets pulled off a rare 3-1 series comeback to advance.
This year's top-seeded Utah squad held a 2-0 lead on Los Angeles before losing four straight. While 2-0 series comebacks are slightly more common than 3-1 reversals, the way the Jazz collapsed Friday will only add to the sting the players feel.
Utah built up a 25-point lead early in the third quarter before the Clippers rallied behind an unexpected outburst from Terance Mann. The second-year wing poured in 25 second-half points, helping L.A. retake the lead for good early in the fourth on its way to a 131-119 win.
"Obviously it's painful," said Jazz center Rudy Gobert of the loss. "We had a great year. We felt like we had all the weapons we needed for a shot at the title. It's painful. Hopefully we learn from it."