In what seems like a weekly tradition, the Dallas Mavericks (5-8) are set to take on the Utah Jazz (7-6) for the third time already this season. Utah has taken both games so far beating Dallas by a combined 24 points.
The Mavericks are coming off an ugly 103-98 win against the Chicago Bulls Monday night which means the team has won three of its last four games. The only loss in that stretch has come at the hands of the Jazz.
Last time these two squads played the Mavericks committed an unforgivable 25 turnovers that the Jazz turned into 31 points. Harrison Barnes, (5), Luka Doncic (5), DeAndre Jordan (4) and Dennis Smith Jr. (4) combined to cough it up 18 times. Doncic and Smith Jr. could maybe get a pass, but four turnovers from Jordan can’t happen. The Jazz were excellent in getting into passing lanes and forcing turnovers, but the Mavericks also are committing careless turnovers nightly. Already outmatched, Dallas must protect the ball to have a chance.
Slowly but surely it appears the three-point shooting for both the Mavericks and opponents is balancing itself out. In the first handful of games it seemed whoever Dallas played lit the team up from deep. Those nightly barrages are pushing the Mavericks’ opponents’ three-point percentage to 39 percent on the season, but in the last five games, opponents are shooting only 29 percent from behind the arc. On the other side of the coin the Mavericks are connecting on 39 percent from deep compared to 35 percent on the season. The flip in these percentages are a major result in the Mavericks looking like an actual NBA team recently.
Defend the paint
Thankfully for the Mavericks, the Jazz are one of the few teams to not blitz them from deep this season. Unfortunately, Utah has made a nice home in the paint in both matchups. In the first game the Jazz collected 52 paint points and then another 50 in the second game. On the season Dallas only allows 44 points in the paint per night, so the Jazz have given the Mavericks fits down low both games. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are the main concerns here. If Mitchell consistently gets paint touches and Gobert makes a living on the glass, it could be a long night for the Mavericks.
How to watch
The game tips at 7:30 and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.