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Scott G Winterton, KSL

'I don't know what sport that was': Donovan Mitchell's highlight passes are becoming just as common as his dunks

By Ryan Miller, | Posted - Nov. 23, 2019 at 11:27 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell made Joe Ingles turn around in near disbelief.

Near the start of the second quarter, Ingles lofted a high pass toward the rim. Mitchell cut in, leaped and caught the ball before slamming it home with one hand over a helpless Nicolo Melli.

As Mitchell walked back, he stared down Melli (he got a technical foul for that; the moment was probably worth it) and Ingles turned around with a disbelieving smile.

“To be honest with you I forgot about it,” Mitchell said of the play during his walk-off interview.

Maybe it’s because he was so focused. Or maybe the dunks are just becoming old hat. Or maybe it’s because that wasn’t even his most memorable play of Utah's 128-120 win over New Orleans on Saturday.

Because as good as that dunk was, it paled in comparison to one of his five assists.

In the first quarter, Mitchell grabbed a one-handed rebound just outside the charge circle. He looked up and without taking a dribble, jumped and fired a two-handed, above-the-head pass in between two Pelicans into the hands of a streaking Bojan Bogdanovic at the other end of the court.

All Bogdanovic had to do was catch and jump to finish the play with a two-handed dunk.

There was so much to the pass that was spectacular: The vision to see Bogdanovic, the ability to quickly read the play, the skill to throw a two-handed pass that far and that accurately.

This wasn't something you'd ever practice. It was all instinct. That’s what made it so special.

“The one today, I don't know what sport that was,” Mitchell said.

It was like a quarterback splitting two defenders. Except with the technique of a two-handed soccer throw-in — but with a jump. Good thing Mitchell played a lot of different sports growing up.

“It's kind of if I see them, throw it,” Mitchell said.

And throw it any way he can.

“I think Bojan notices that — Bojan and Joe (Ingles) notice that,” Mitchell said. “I'm gonna let it fly.”

Bogdanovic, though, was scared he was going to mess up the highlight play.

He caught the pass on a sprint just outside the charge circle on the other side of the court. He didn't even have to take a dribble to get to the rim, but there was a second he thought he wouldn't make it.

“I almost missed the dunk,” Bogdanovic said. “I was so tired at that time but it was great, great court vision by him and great pass as well.”

Just a great play all around.

Ryan Miller

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