Before tonight’s game, the Utah Jazz had lost just three times at home, and only once since early December. The Dallas Mavericks became the most recent victim to the fortress in Salt Lake City, with tonight’s gut-wrenching 112-107 loss.
The Mavericks’ early aggressiveness on offense was a sight for sore eyes. Kristaps Porzingis kept Rudy Gobert out of the paint with his three-point shooting, while Luka Doncic seemed to get to the rim at will.
Dallas ended the quarter with a double digit lead, and would have been even bigger if it wasn’t for some breakdowns on defense in the final minutes, and some hot shooting from Donovan Mitchell.
That lead was quickly erased after a slow start in the second, with the Jazz tightening up their defense and punishing the Mavericks on the inside. Gobert was a real problem on both ends of the floor for Dallas, posting a double-double in the first half, while blocking two shots.
After halftime, the game yo-yo’d back and forth with each team making runs at one another, but it was the Jazz who showed why they’re second in the West, toppling over the Mavericks when it mattered in crunch time.
Unfortunately, it’s just the same thing we’re seeing time and time again in close games.
Here’s three things from tonight’s loss in Utah.
Luka looked gassed
It’s hard to fault a player who put up a stat line of 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists, but at times through the game Doncic appeared to be passive, and his shooting from long range didn’t look great.
Although he started the game at full tilt, he faded in parts of the second half. There were a handful of defensive possessions where he was easily beaten, and then didn’t really show any hustle to grab a rebound, like he did earlier in the game.
A costly turnover late in the fourth, and settling for some bad three-point attempts were just hard to watch. I’m not sure if it’s a rotation thing, or just the load he’s taking on, but he definitely didn’t look fresh.
Seth Curry looked great
If we’re going to take something good out of tonight’s loss, it would have to be the play from Curry. He was consistently good throughout the game, and hit timely shots when they needed him.
Curry finished with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists, while shooting 80 percent from the three point line. Outside of Doncic’s 26 points, and Porzingis’ 15 points, Curry seemed to be the only other threat on the floor.
Honestly, how many times are we going to have to write about this? The Mavericks shot just 53.8 percent from the charity stripe, which in these close games is too poor. Luka is shooting a dismal 68.3 percent from the line in January, which is way down from his season average of 77.2 percent. And it’s not just Luka.
I think a call to Holger Geschwindner needs to be made.
The Mavericks get another go at basketball when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night in Oklahoma City.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.