Donovan Mitchell says he has settled the feud with team-mate Rudy Gobert
Orlando (AFP) - Donovan Mitchell said his feud with team-mate Rudy Gobert was firmly in the rear view mirror after the two Utah Jazz players combined to engineer victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.
Mitchell scored 20 points and Gobert chipped in with 14 as the Jazz overturned a 16-point deficit to snatch a 106-104 victory in the opening game of the NBA’s restart.
Encouragingly for Utah, there was little sign of the rift which had left Mitchell and Gobert barely on speaking terms four months ago when Gobert’s positive COVID-19 case triggered the NBA’s shutdown.
French star Gobert had attracted widespread criticism for his conduct in the days before his positive test, which included theatrically touching multiple recording devices and microphones during a press briefing.
Gobert later apologised for what he described as “inexcusable” behaviour, admitting he had not taken the threat of the coronavirus seriously.
Mitchell, who later tested positive for COVID-19 soon after Gobert, later spoke of a need for individuals to “educate themselves” and “behave responsibly.”
Mitchell, 23, said Thursday’s performances showed there was no lingering bad blood between the team-mates. Gobert scored the first and last points of the game in Utah’s win.
“It’s just me trusting him and him trusting me,” Mitchell said.
“That’s really what it is. … He had the first two points, and for that [play] to end it, it should kind of seal everything as far as talking about all that extra stuff.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder also drew a line under the controversy.
“We’ve moved on, and we’ve talked about using this entire experience to get better, and I think those two guys have done that,” Snyder said of Gobert and Mitchell.
Gobert meanwhile said both men had taken “the high road.”
“Every team has ups and downs,” Gobert told ESPN. “The most important thing is the way you respond. It takes a bigger man to take the high road in life. We’re both doing that right now. We’re both going to keep trying to make each other better. That’s what our team needs and our community needs.”