While they entered Game 1 with the best record in the NBA, something very important was missing from the league's No. 1 overall team: Donovan Mitchell.
After suffering a sprained ankle in a win over the Indiana Pacers on April 16, Mitchell was forced to miss the final 16 games of the regular season. While the two-time All Star was originally expected to make his return before the start of the playoffs, his time off the court ended up spilling into the postseason.
Without their star leader in Game 1, the Jazz fell to the Grizzlies in a closely-contested 112-109 loss.
Fortunately for the struggling No. 1 seed though, Mitchell will be back in action later tonight. Now looking to tie the series up at 1-1, Utah will be fully equipped in Game 2.
Mitchell took to Twitter this evening to share his excitement for his first game back in over a month.
"LETS GO!" he wrote.
In Mitchell's absence, the bulk of Game-1 scoring fell on forward Bojan Bogdanovic (29) and point guard Mike Conley (22). With the team's regular-season scoring leader (26.4 ppg) now back on the court, some serious pressure should be relieved from Utah's supplementary scoring options.
Game 2 will tipoff tonight at 10 p.m. ET.