Image Credit: @utahjazz Twitter
On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Utah Jazz in hopes of getting things going. After fighting through two weeks with a depleted roster, the Mavericks return Josh Richardson, Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith to the lineup against the red hot Jazz. This game is almost a “must win” as the Mavericks don’t want to fall too behind in the loaded western conference.
On Monday, the Mavericks played the Denver Nuggets in hopes of avoiding a two game losing streak. The Nuggets were getting things going early in the game as Jamal Murray started to heat up by draining five of his first six attempts from the field. Things would change as the officials would call a foul Murray as he would hit Tim Hardaway Jr in the groin. They would review the call to see if it was needed to be upgraded and they would upgrade to a flagrant-two foul. Jamal Murray would wind up being ejected from the game with 4:51 left in the third quarter. The Nuggets led 80-73 at the time of the call and the Mavericks would use that to their momentum as Tim Hardaway Jr would score seven points in just 23 seconds to give the Mavericks their first lead of the game. The Nuggets would go back in front in the fourth quarter before the Mavericks tied it at 104 with five minutes left. Michael Porter Jr would hit a clutch three pointer for the Nuggets that sealed the victory with 41 seconds to go. The loss would send the Mavericks to 8-9 on the season and on a two game losing streak. Luka Doncic had 35 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 16 assists for his league-leading sixth triple-double of the season. Michael Porter Jr filled in for Jamal Murray’s ejection and delivered for the Nuggets by scoring a season-high 30 points.
The Utah Jazz are coming into this game on fire as they are on a nine game winning streak to see their record go 13-4 on the season which is good enough for second in the western conference. They are recently coming off a 108-94 win against the New York Knicks on Tuesday. Coming into this season, they made changes to their roster that losing Emmanuel Mudiay and signing Derrick Favors in free agency. The Jazz are looking to advance further in the playoffs that saw them being eliminated in the first round by the Denver Nuggets in seven games. If you recall, it was Rudy Gobert being the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 that led to postponing the season until late last summer. That would lead to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert being on a tense relationship but have since repaired it which would result in a good start to the season. Both of them would lead their team in points and rebounds as Mitchell is averaging 23.4 points per game and Gobert is averaging 13.8 rebounds per game. They will look to keep this momentum going in hopes of making another deep playoff run this season.
Entering this game, the Mavericks lost the regular season series 1-2 to the Jazz last season but were able to capture the most recent victory on August 10th, 2020. The Jazz have won 13 of the last 18 matchups after the Mavericks won the previous eight and 15 of the previous 18. The Jazz were able to secure their 100th win in the all-time series by beating the Mavericks 125-109 on February 23rd, 2019. Overall, the Jazz lead the all-time series with a record of 102-74 against the Mavericks. These teams will meet again on Friday as part of a two-game series in the first half of the season.
This game started on “sour note” for the Jazz as Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors were ruled out for this game as they will try to keep their winning streak alive without their key players. The “concert” would begin by both teams getting off to a quick start by exchanging points to start the first quarter. However, the Jazz would continue their quick start by scoring on back-to-back possessions to go on a 7-2 run in the early stages of the quarter. The Mavericks would get it to within one as Luka Doncic hit a 10-foot shot that got a favorable bounce with 9:09 left. The Jazz would continue to hit the right notes as they kept pounding the paint as Rudy Gobert took advantage of the opportunity to take a 13-8 lead before Rick Carlisle had seen enough and called a timeout with 7:19 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were “b” (which means “flat” in music) on defense to begin the quarter as there was no improvement from last game. They absolutely cannot afford to let the Jazz to take control of this game otherwise this game might be over at halftime. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks couldn’t get points as Rudy Gobert would steal a pass off of Luka Doncic but fortunately that didn’t result in points. Tim Hardaway Jr gave the Mavericks a much needed basket by hitting a 18-foot jump shot with 5:42 left in the quarter to try to get things going on offense, as they were trailing 18-10. These Jazz were “#” (which means sharp in music) shooting threes as Joe Ingles hit a 24-foot three pointer to give them a 23-12 lead which gives them three attempts made already from behind the arc. The Mavericks would cut the deficit to within six points as James Johnson drove to the basket for an easy layup off of a Jalen Brunson pass. There’s absolutely no reason why these Mavericks are letting a shorthanded Jazz team just bully them in this game as this is a good opportunity to end their losing streak. The Mavericks would need to change their “playlist” and play “good music” if they want to find a way to victory as the Mavericks aren’t looking very good. In the final minutes of the quarter, it was getting out of the reach as the Jazz continued to keep their foot on the gas that resulted in them taking a 32-19 lead to end the first quarter. These Jazz were playing like they are going “platinum” as they shot 52% on 13 of 25 shooting while the Mavericks shot a disappointing 37.5% on nine of 24 shooting. Nothing was falling for the Mavericks as their top leading scorer was Luka Doncic with seven points. They failed to make a single three pointer as they missed all six attempts from behind the arc. Things looked completely opposite on the Jazz’s end as their top leading scorer was Rudy Gobert with 10 points. Luka Doncic would end the quarter with his right knee wrapped in ice as this game continued to fall apart for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks finally hit their first three pointer in the game as it took until 11:10 in the second quarter to hit one with Kristaps Porzingis hitting a 28-foot three pointer, however they still found themselves trailing 35-24. The Jazz would automatically answer on the following possession as Georges Niang made a 26-foot three pointer to silence the Mavericks threat of coming back. With the Jazz starting an 8-3 run, Rick Carlisle called timeout as this game slowly continued to get out of hand as the Mavericks were trailing 43-27 with 9:28 left in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, Dorian Finney-Smith failed to hit a three pointer but fortunately it wouldn’t result in some Jazz points on the other end. Luka Doncic would return back to the game with 8:21 left in the quarter which is the only good news for the Mavericks as it didn’t looked like his right knee was bothering him. A Jordan Clarkson layup would increase their lead to 21 points for the Jazz as they were picking the Mavericks apart. The Mavericks finally got something going as they were able to go on a 7-3 run to cut the deficit to 15 points as the Jazz were forced to call a timeout with the score being 49-34 in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Jazz settled down as they were able to drive to the hoop for an easy two points by Jordan Clarkson. A fifth opportunity by the Jazz was taken advantage as the Mavericks couldn’t simply rebound the ball and secure it and Rudy Gobert grabbed the ball for a slam dunk. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Jazz were able to maintain their lead by ending the quarter in front 69-48. Tim Hardaway Jr was able to give the Mavericks 12 points in the quarter as that was the only player they had going for them. The quarter was dominated by Jordan Clarkson as he scored 22 points coming off the bench for the Jazz to lead the team. The Mavericks only had two players score more than 10 points and they were Tim Hardaway Jr and Luka Doncic while the Jazz had three players. Everything was going wrong, including rebounding the ball as they were out-rebounded 30-12 which the Jazz took advantage and finished with points. If this was a concert, the Mavericks would’ve gotten tomatoes thrown at them and booed off stage.
Coming out of the half, the Jazz were able to hit 70 points with 11:22 left in the third quarter while the Mavericks haven’t even hit 50 points yet until Tim Hardaway Jr called “bank” on the following possession. The Mavericks would need to seriously cut into this Jazz lead in this quarter in order to give them a shot in the fourth quarter. Dorian Finney-Smith would hit a corner three point jump shot to give him his first points of the game as they would need a lot more from him. The Mavericks started this quarter well by going on a 5-2 run but that’s absolutely not going to cut it in this game by the way the Jazz were playing. Rick Carlisle decided to call timeout with 9:27 left in the quarter as he challenged the call and was unsuccessful which would result in Mike Conley hitting both of his free-throws to take a 77-57 lead. The Mavericks quietly keep chipping away from this Jazz lead that would result in Tim Hardaway Jr and Kristaps Porzingis hitting threes on back-to-back possession but Mike Conley was there to answer for the Jazz. With the game getting away from the Mavericks, they would try a “hack-a-Gobert” in hopes that he would miss his free-throws but that wouldn’t happen as he managed to hit both of them to keep the Jazz in the drivers seat. The Jazz were simply toying with the Mavericks now, as they were able to connect on a Joe Ingles-to-Royce O’Neal alley oop which looked like they were having so much fun playing. Rick Carlisle would call timeout in hopes of trying to carry something from this game with 5:24 left in the quarter with the Mavericks trailing 89-67. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks failed to convert on offense as they were able to see another alley oop from the Jazz. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were just glad this quarter ended which saw the Jazz take a 100-78 lead into the fourth quarter. The Mavericks quickly fell apart in this game and decided that it would happen in the third quarter. This was heading into a complete blowout as they still had one quarter left to play. Luka Doncic would score 15 points in third quarter but that was just a footnote as it was taken over by Rudy Gobert. I don’t know what music the Jazz were listening to but it helped in this game. The Jazz hit 100 points with 20 seconds left in the quarter as the Mavericks couldn’t hit 80 as that’s how bad things were going for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks were hoping the Jazz would go into hibernation into the fourth quarter if they want to make this a game. Fortunately the Mavericks were able to get points on back-to-back to possessions to begin the quarter which resulted in them going on a 7-0 run. The Jazz would call timeout as they want to put an end to the Mavericks run in the quarter which saw them cut the lead to 100-85 with 9:30 left in the quarter. The Mavericks started this quarter by making three of their first four shots as they could’ve used this start to begin the game, while the Jazz surprisingly missing all six attempts. Coming out of the timeout, the Jazz were able to get some points as Mike Conley made a 8-foot jump shot to prevent any Mavericks threat. Even with the Mavericks good start in this quarter, they couldn’t stop the Jazz on defense as they were able to continue to make their shots. Jordan Clarkson was able to completely fool Kristaps Porzingis as he pumped faked a shot to reverse and make an easy layup to extend their lead to 109-91. The Mavericks continue to waste their timeouts as this one came with 5:52 left in the game with them trailing by 20 points as they would need to hit all of their notes on “hard mode” with your eyes closed like you were playing on guitar hero to have any chance at this one. With the time and the score in favor of the Jazz, they could afford to do whatever they want as this game got closer to 0:00.
This team looked lifeless on the court as they let a shorthanded Jazz team torture them as they let a perfect opportunity to steal one from the Jazz that was missing key players. This was no excuse as to why the Mavericks couldn’t win this game as it was handed to them but they didn’t want it as bad as the Jazz did. The Mavericks were far from in rhythm as the Jazz looked like they were comfortable and confident with each other. The Mavericks simply didn’t want to come out and play hard as they were disastrous from all cylinders. Boy do the Mavericks need to make a splash at the trade deadline because this team needs some desperate help in any way they can. This is not a team that’s destined to make a serious playoff run like we all hoped for and wanted.
In the end, it was the Utah Jazz defeating the Dallas Mavericks 116-104. The Mavericks record would drop to 8-10 on the season as their losing streak increased to three games. Luka Doncic finished with 30 points and 6 assists. The Jazz relied on Jordan Clarkson as a result of Donovan Mitchell sitting out this game and would finish with a season-high 31 points and 7 rebounds. The rebounding was a problem for the Mavericks as they were out-rebounded 50-36. This was not a very good effort for the Mavericks as they struggled on all cylinders. The Jazz were able to have a good “concert” which resulted in them having the “number one single” while the Mavericks couldn’t break into the “top 100”.
The Mavericks will stay in Utah to finish their two-game series on Friday. The Mavericks will look to leave a good “note” before coming back to Dallas to play the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center in the final game of January.