The Utah Jazz lost an early double-digit lead and nearly mounted a comeback, but ultimately lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round of the NBA Playoffs. It marked the biggest upset of the opening weekend of games.
The fourth quarter saw big shots and tense moments, while the entire game had plenty to discuss. Here are some of the topics people talked about on the national television broadcast and social media.
And it all came down to, are the Jazz for real?
It turns out many NBA fans don’t think so. Many on social media called the Jazz “frauds” for losing to the Grizzlies despite the fact that Donovan Mitchell — arguably the team’s best player — did not play.
For Jazz fans, the angst came from several fronts. Jordan Clarkson had a difficult game, Rudy Gobert fouled out and the team as a whole missed a ton of 3-point shots.
Charles Barkley said on TNT after the game that the Jazz took too many bad shots from distance.
“They shoot the most 3s, they make the most 3s,” Barkley said. “They just kept jacking them up tonight. I didn’t like their strategy at all.”
Bad boy Bojan
Bojan Bogdanovic went nuclear in the second half, scoring all 29 of his points in that time frame and willing the Jazz back into the game with his 3-point shooting. Fans on social media were practically delirious as Bogdanovic made shot after shot.
Mike Conley’s stellar first half
Mike Conley was a bright spot for the Utah Jazz in the first half, putting up 16 points, five assists and a block. He helped the Jazz get a big lead in the half — particularly when he shared minutes with Rudy Gobert — potentially indicating how the team can succeed against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Reporters and fans alike shared Conley’s praises throughout the first 24 minutes.
Donovan Mitchell’s status
The conversation on social media deservedly centered around Donovan Mitchell’s status before the game after his mysterious removal from the starting lineup. He’s been out for weeks with an ankle injury, but said Sunday morning that he was going to play with an undisclosed minutes restriction.
Hours later, however, the team’s medical staff ruled him out. Ernie Johnson of the TNT broadcast initially thought Mitchell was playing because the team had initially cleared him.
With the news he was out, Charles Barkley wondered what it could mean for the Jazz of Mitchell continues to miss time.
“I’m starting to get worried,” Barkley said. “They don’t need him against the Grizzlies, but they need him if they’re going to advance at some point. … They need Donovan Mitchell if they’re going to make any noise in the Western Conference.”
Barkley said at halftime that if Mitchell isn’t healthy, the series against the Grizzlies will be difficult and the Jazz have no chance to win the title.
While the Jazz took a 14-point lead in the first half, they went into halftime down by six points. Kenny Smith said those kinds of leads aren’t sustainable without Mitchell.
Some media members around the country suggested that keeping Mitchell out is an indication of how the Jazz feel about playing the Grizzlies.
T-Pain and other celebs in the house
The Jazz welcomed a few celebrities for Game 1 against the Grizzlies. One of the most curious attendees was rapper T-Pain, whose sartorial choices stuck out almost as much as his presence.
First of all, his face mask looked like the one Sub-Zero and Scorpion wear in the “Mortal Kombat” movies. And his Nike sneakers appear to have some kind of armor over where the laces are.
Then there’s the bag of Ruffles. When he was photographed, they were unopened and of the cheddar variety. One can only assume that he ate them during the game.
T-Pain is a Florida native, who there’s no obvious tie to either Jazz or Grizzlies fandom. It turns out a few people on social media were also confused about his presence at the game.
T-Pain wasn’t the only celebrity at the game. Jazz part-owner Dwyane Wade was at the game and seen with majority owner Ryan Smith.
And although he may not be considered “high-profile,” Real Salt Lake midfielder and noted Jazz fan Damir Kreilach was also in attendance. He has a close personal relationship with Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Jazz home court
A quirky topic of conversation on Twitter was the Jazz’s home court. Apparently it was so bright on people’s televisions that some people had to comment on it.
Part of the reason for the brightness could be that the team gave out white T-shirts to every fan that attended the game — a classic “Whiteout” game.