The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Utah Jazz Wednesday night, 117-102. Donovan Mitchell torched the Mavericks to the tune of 23 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Luka Doncic was the high point man for Dallas with 24 points.
Dallas started and ended the quarter sloppy, turning the ball over seven times in the frame and letting the Utah Jazz get into a comfortable rhythm. Despite some decent looks falling for the Mavericks in the first part of the quarter, the Jazz locked Dallas down for the final six minutes. The Mavericks were only able to get points on the board through free throws and ended the quarter trailing 18-30.
The Jazz kept the clamps on the Mavericks for the first four minutes of the quarter while pushing their lead to as many as 20 points. Dallas finally broke the lid on the basket via Jalen Brunson jumper at the 7:40 mark, but by this point the game felt nearly over. Coach Rick Carlisle broke out Salah Merji for the second time in two games, but the Mavericks simply couldn’t stop basic plays by the Jazz. A thunderous Donovan Mitchell dunk at the end of the quarter gave the Jazz a 68-45 lead at the half.
The third quarter saw the Mavericks try and try and try again to make it a game. Dallas continually hit three pointers to push the Jazz lead down into the teens only to give up a contested or uncontested three. A million foul calls throughout the period resulted in the quarter taking forever and tensions boiled over with under ten seconds in the quarter. A late Dwight Powell and-one attempt actually cut the Jazz lead to 16 and the Mavericks trailed 99-83 entering the final frame.
Dallas entered the fourth with the bench unit and the small guard brigade of J.J. Barea and Jalen Brunson attempted to make things interesting. At one point Brunson connected on a nifty lefty lay up, then stole the in bounds and scored again cutting the lead to 12. Out of the timeout, Rudy Gobert picked up his fifth foul and a Brunson three cut the Jazz lead to nine. In typical Maverick fashion this season, the starters looked disjointed with every single player getting a crack at scoring the ball and largely being unable to do so. Though Gobert fouled out with around three minutes remaining, the Maverick starters let the game get blown wide open again. Dallas falls in Utah, 117-112
Now, some thoughts
This Mavericks defense is a disaster show and every single player is to blame
The Jazz had 14 dunks. They connected on thirteen threes (and missed so many wide open looks). Whatever Dallas is doing defensively, and it feels like they’ve tried everything, literally nothing is working. Dennis Smith appears to have no idea when he’s getting screened. Luka Doncic must need to be taught the proper close out technique. Wesley Matthews is kindling waiting to be lit on fire. Harrison Barnes is a ghost. DeAndre Jordan is watching the world burn from the center of the key.
The bench unit has its own set of issues but they seem to give effort. The Dallas starters lack intensity and it’s very frustrating.
Stop with the ridiculous turnovers
Dennis Smith, Luka Doncic, DeAndre Jordan, and Harrison Barnes combined for 18 turnovers. The aforementioned quartet also combined for just six assists. Turnovers are going to happen, but this was extreme.
Doncic’s turnovers are starting to drive me nuts, if only because at least half of them come from him over compensating for not seeing the ball for three minutes at a time. But he’s got to trim the high risk passes. Smith is a try-hard in the worst of situations, like entering the game at around the 7:30 mark in the fourth and immediately turning it over. Barnes and Jordan lost their minds in the fourth as each had truly horrendous turnovers. Barnes had the worst attempt at an entry pass I’ve seen in some time trying to force the ball to Wesley Matthews.
Harrison Barnes has to find a way through whatever funk he’s in
Through seven games, Barnes has hit just 36 of his 100 shot attempts. He can’t both ball stop on offense (watch how often he’ll receive a pass on a ball reversal or on the fast break and see how quickly he makes a decision) and not hit shots. He’s been getting to the line more the last several games but it’s not making up the difference in his inefficiency. I’d like to see him take more threes.
Maxi Kleber needs to find his shot too
Our other German friend started the year 8-of-13 from three. He’s just 3-of-21 since. Woooof.
Enough with the fouls
That game was a remarkable 2 hours and 45 minutes from tip to close largely because of the fouls. There were 59 fouls called 66 free throws shot. Some of that much allowed the Dallas bench unit to make it a game, but sheesh, there’s no reason a game needs to be that damn long.