SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell missed a three at the buzzer. Or maybe he can blame Spencer Dinwiddie.
Whatever you prefer, Mitchell’s time in the NBA2K Player’s Only Tournament was short-lived after he lost to the Washington Wizards' Rui Hachimura 74-71 in the first round after the game-tying three rimmed out.
Mitchell was playing with the Brooklyn Nets; Hachimura was the Los Angeles Lakers. Players can only be a team once during the tournament and Mitchell said he was saving the Jazz for later.
He won't get the chance to play as himself now.
“Good game, bro,” Mitchell said after the loss. “That’s tough. Man, my heart was racing, too.”
For the sports-starved fan, the last few minutes of game action may have been a welcomed sight. The back-and-forth finish featured plenty of lead changes, yelling at the virtual refs and action that actually resembled basketball.
“Good cut,” Mitchell told Hachimura after the Wizards rookie used LeBron James to sneak into the lane for a layup in the closing moments.
"Did you do that or did the game do that?" Mitchell asked.
"I did,” Hachimura responded
"Nah, the game did that,” Mitchell said.
With just over three minutes remaining, Mitchell hit a three with Kyrie Irving to take a one-point lead. A shot that came with the added bonus of Mitchell screaming, “Big shot Kyrie!” in celebration. Those types of outbursts were common for the Jazz guard who clearly wasn’t afraid to showcase his personality to the ESPN2 audience.
And the world might have gotten an inside look at some of how Mitchell was as a fan, too.
“That’s three seconds!” Mitchell yelled numerous times, clearly irked by the virtual refs
Other such moments included: calling for a five-second back-down call that didn’t come, thanking the game for not calling a foul after he blocked a shot, and wondering aloud why his team took so long to foul in the closing seconds.
And maybe a few extra seconds would have changed the outcome.
After Hachimura missed a free throw with four seconds left, Mitchell had a sliver of hope. After two quick passes down the court, the ball ended up in virtual Dinwiddie’s hands with just enough time to hoist up the game-tying attempt.
“Hate to see that,” Mitchell said after it missed. “I let everybody down. Lost in the first round.”