SALT LAKE CITY – Donovan Mitchell had a pretty good idea of Quin Snyder’s game plan for Team LeBron in the All-Star Game.
“I think he took what we did during the season in terms of shooting 3s and just told them to shoot farther and harder,” Mitchell said.
Well, when you have Steph Curry and Damian Lillard on your team, you better take advantage of it. Snyder led his team to a 170-150 victory over Mitchell and Team Durant on Sunday in Atlanta. And, yes, it was one of those farthest, toughest 3s that ended the game with Lillard shooting from inside the halfway line and punching a 3-pointer to bring Team LeBron to the 170 goal.
But Snyder is unwilling to take any credit for anything that happened Sunday.
“(I trained) as much as they wanted, which was a couple of plays in a couple of situations,” Snyder said. “It’s kind of a help any way you can, but I think they pretty much have it covered.”
He was only part of the journey. He said it was exciting to be in the game; to look out onto the court and not only see the All-Stars, but former Hall of Famers as well. It only added to the excitement that three of his players were there as well.
The Jazz were well represented in Atlanta. Mitchell, who played for Team Durant, had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes; Rudy Gobert had 10 points and seven rebounds in 13 minutes for Team LeBron; and Mike Conley, who made his long-awaited All-Star debut, added 3 points and two assists in 12 minutes for Team Durant.
The Jazz players didn’t play a big part in the bottom line, but they had plenty of fun moments, including a debut Conley would never have seen coming.
On Conley’s first play in an All-Star Game, he did something he hadn’t done in years: He faced Chris Paul for initial advice to start the second quarter. Unfortunately for Conley, he lost the jumping match, but that was really the only downside to the whirlwind day.
“I wasn’t ready for the track,” Conley said with a smile. “They told me I was going out and I was getting ready to dial someone and I was looking back (and the bank said), ‘Mike, jump.’ I wish I had earned the tip, but other than that it was a great experience, a lot of fun “.
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In the first half, Mitchell leaked inside for a layup right next to Gobert. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year might have crushed him, but he figured he’d let his regular teammate have one for free.
“It was supposed to block my tray, I thought I was going to do it, I didn’t have the legs to try to tip it over,” Mitchell said.
Gobert said: “I let him get the first layup. After that, I told him I wouldn’t let him get any more. He freaked out a bit in the second half. I thought he was going to try something, but he didn’t.” t – smart decision. “
Mitchell didn’t return the favor of letting his teammate have a free pass. When Gobert received the ball just off the rim, Mitchell Bear hugged him to avoid what would surely have been a dunk.
“It was fun talking trash, I had to make a foul, I had to make sure it didn’t get there,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell hit a 3 on Gobert’s long arms in the second half, not as exciting as a challenge at the rim, but also easier (and safer).
There was a bit of drama that involved Conley. He was the last All-Star to get on the board Sunday, waiting until late in the third quarter to score his first points. Mitchell said he and the team had been trying to find ways to get him a bucket, so there was some relief when Conley hit a triple in the final minutes of the third quarter.
And that shot was all Conley needed.
“Once I got the bucket, I was like, ‘I’m fine, man, you can get me out. Let these young men run and put on a show,'” Conley said.
Overall, it was a successful game and weekend for the Jazz, who were the most represented team in the game. Utah was one of only two teams to have three All-Stars (the Brooklyn Nets were the other), and it was the only team to have all three in play. And they brought their coach with them. All of this made it a special day for the organization.
“It was fun being there with those guys,” Snyder said.