A missed technical free throw is a pretty unlikely candidate for the most important play of the game, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.
And yet, that’s what Donovan Mitchell said allowed him to flip the switch, turning a feeble offensive performance into a dominating one. That culminated in a 72-point second half for the Jazz, allowing them to beat Minnesota for the second consecutive game, 125-111.
After Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns earned the technical foul for loudly complaining about a non-call heading into the timeout with 6:50 left to go in the third quarter, Ricky Rubio asked that Mitchell take the ensuing free throw, to try to get his offensive game going. To that point of the contest, Mitchell had scored just seven points on 2-for-13 shooting, en route to his worst offensive game in weeks.
Mitchell missed the free throw, but then the Jazz ran another play for him. The sophomore guard went downhill into the paint, was fouled, but made the shot anyway. He converted the and-one, starting a run of nine consecutive made shots for the Jazz.
“Even though I missed [the free throw], it was one of those things where my teammates want me to keep being aggressive,” Mitchell said. “When you have teammates that back you like that, it’s awesome. It makes it easy.”
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