Al Jefferson Drives Against Elton Brand - George Frey
A monster third quarter from Utah paired with their talented big man rotation wears down the Dallas Mavericks in the second night of a back-to-back road trip.
A night after pushing around the star studded front line of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas got a taste of their own medicine from the Utah Jazz. Lead by their front line of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, Utah punished Dallas on the boards, out-rebounding the good guys 61 to 40, while managing to grab 20 of those on the offensive end. Off-season acquisitions Marvin and Mo Williams lead Utah with 21 points a piece, while three Jazz big men grabbed more than 10 boards. Dallas was lead by Darren Collison with 17 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.
It was a frustrating night as a Dallas fan; it was clear early on that Utah would be relentless on the boards and there was little the Mavericks could do about it. Collison set the pace early for Dallas but an early lead slipped away in a hurry due to sloppy play on offense and being unable to rebound on defense. Dallas still managed to lead after one, with Roddy Beaubois highlighting the quarter, picking the pocket of the opposing teams point guard in the back court for the second straight night.
The Mavericks chose to go zone to start the second quarter but managed to give up the a sixth offensive rebound to Paul Millsap early in the quarter. While an early tech forced Mo Williams to sit for most of the first quarter, he came into the game in the second with a chip on his should and actively hunted for his shot. The Jazz punished Dallas early and often, with their big men running the floor on the fast break and finishing shots. Dallas countered by shooting 7 from 8 from beyond the arc to push the Dallas lead to 63-55 at half time. 30 of Dallas' 63 points came on three pointers in the first half.
The Mavs started the third quarter sloppy on both ends of the floor. They immediately gave up an offensive rebound, which lead to yet another second chance bucket for Utah. The Jazz pressured the Dallas back court heavily in comparison to the first half and both Collison and Mayo seemed rattled. After a Vince Carter foul forced Dallas to turn to Dahntay Jones, the Mavs offense ground to a half. Utah pushed Dallas all over the floor in the third, pummeling the Mavs 37 to 13.
Quarter number four started much the same way every other quarter in the game did: Dallas giving up an offensive rebound. Carlisle stuck to his starters for a few more minutes before clearing the bench. Utah did much the same and the final 5-6 minutes of play consisted of everyone getting a look at all of the young players on each squad. Utah finished the game leading 113 to Dallas' 94.
Some extra notes!
-Dallas shot 50% from three but only 37.5% over all. Take away the three point shots and Dallas shot 33% (21-63) from two point range. Take away Brandan Wright's buckets (he went 7-8) and Dallas shot 25.5% (14-55). Yuck. That's a healthy combination of bad luck and great interior defense from Utah. Stats show the Jazz only registered 8 blocks but it felt like a billion.
-Carlisle played his entire bench and it wasn't just because of the blow out. By half time, 11 Mavs had seen playing time.
-We've got to see more from Mayo. He was able to get by Kobe regularly last night, but since most people forget that Kobe hasn't been good at defense in 5 years, this isn't a huge feat. His shot selection inside the arc is underwhelming at best.
-Good gravy that Jazz front line is strong, young and talented. Sigh.
-Roddy didn't get a lot of playing time tonight; I wonder why? He looked good in the first half but then only saw minutes once things had gotten out of hand.
-Jared Cunningham sighting! That was special. He played hard though.
-The good guys finished 1-1 on a road trip against two probable playoff teams. We're missing two of our starters and our new guys are getting minutes. I'm an Eeyore concerning the Mavs along with Andy, but I feel good about this trip. Rebounding is going to be a concern this entire season, but the guys have gotten better about turnovers and the starters look confident, more or less. While there are things that need fixing, things are also looking up. Keep the faith!