Having won two straight entering Wednesday night’s game in Dallas, the Mavericks hosted a 7-6 Utah team that had beaten this same Mavs team a week prior (and twice already on the season). Things went a little differently this time around, though.
50 points! That was the margin of victory for Dallas, against a perhaps under-performing but still very talented team.
BENCH HUGE AS DALLAS DELIVERS SHOCKING WIN
The bench unit has tended to either be very good or absolutely terrible, and following up a strong performance against Oklahoma City, the second unit was great again Wednesday against Utah, scoring over 60 points and featuring three players in double-figures and another who nearly got there in garbage time in Jalen Brunson. J.J. Barea played well despite not shooting well from three, and Dorian Finney-Smith continues his outstanding play with a perfect shooting night.
UTAH GOES COLD IN 2ND HALF...REALLY COLD
The Jazz were hardly lighting it up in the first half, scoring 46 points, but after the break they really fell apart and essentially waved the white flag with seven minutes or so left in the fourth. They managed just nine (!) points in the final frame, and managed only 22 in the second half altogether. Dallas did seem to have better energy and focus on the defensive end tonight, but this may have just been a really off shooting night for Utah, who connected on just 6 of 35 threes, and shot just 31 percent from the field overall.
LUKA THRILLS BEFORE HALF, QUIET AFTER
Rookie sensation Luka Doncic nailed a fade-away three over Joe Ingles with time winding down in the first half, electrifying the crowd going into halftime. Other than that shot, it was a fairly pedestrian night for Luka, however, with 13 points coming on 13 shots. Doncic was one of many players involved either in extra mouthing off with opposing players, or with the referees, on a fairly testy night for both teams.
BARNES PLAYS BEST BALL
This gets my vote for best Harrison Barnes game of the early season. Barnes looked comfortable and empowered to play his game, mixing in some post-ups, isolation drives, as well as a good helping of spot-up attempts, which Barnes nailed against the Jazz. He also had a pair of assists against no turnovers. Barnes can occasionally bring the ball movement to a halt in possessions, but when he’s picking his spots well like Wednesday night, it works just fine.
This was not a game I expected Dallas to win, frankly, despite their “win streak.” This goes in the books as their most impressive win this season easily, but with a rough 10 game stretch coming up, Dallas can’t let up. If they want to prove that the early season struggles are past them, they must keep piling up unexpected victories.