ROUNDBALL DAILY

After rough start, Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz are on fire again

Donovan Mitchell Jazz

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

A wise person once said that expectation is the enemy of happiness.

Yeah, I could see that.

Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz have been disappointing this season, and it’s only because of the expectations they created by an incredible second-half tear last season.

After an embarrassing loss at Atlanta on January 22 of last year, the Jazz found themselves at 19-28.

They preceded to win 29 of their final 33 games to cruise into the playoffs as a No. 5 seed, then they humiliated Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in five games in the first round before falling to the top-seeded Rockets in Round 2.

Everyone expected the Jazz to keep the music playing this season, but like last year, they stumbled out of the gate, and struggled to climb over .500 until January.

Well, it’s that time of the year once again.

Second-year stud Donovan Mitchell is heating up, and the Jazz are too, just in time for another playoff push.

Mitchell, who easily could have been chosen over Ben Simmons as Rookie of the Year last season, was off to a dreadful shooting start to begin this year, but he’s really caught fire in 2019.

The 22-year-old is still at an ugly 32 percent from three-point range on this season and just 42 percent from the field, but both of those numbers have been rising this month.

Since January 5, Mitchell has put up these point totals: 26, 26, 33, 33, 34, 28, 28, 34, 36, and on Wednesday night, 34 in a win over the Nuggets.

That comes out to an average of 31 points per game over his last ten, eight of which have been Jazz wins.

Utah is now 27-22 on the season, and has vaulted into playoff position, at No. 7 right now in the West.

Any talk of a sophomore slump for Mitchell has quieted, and the Jazz have gotten back to their signature defense in holding opponents down.

The West is rugged and no place for the faint of heart, but if Utah continues to play like this, it won’t be one of the teams fighting for the last few playoff spots come April, like LeBron and the Lakers.

You might have written them off, but they’re back—and the tune they’ve struck sounds awfully familiar.

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