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3 times the Mavericks manipulated us emotionally in a 123-119 loss to the Jazz

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I would like to exit the roller coaster.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What to say about a game like this. The Mavericks’ most recent stretch of play has been nothing short of head scratching — a heartbreaking loss to Washington on a last second layup. A dismantling of a dysfunctional Hornet team. Then a complete roller coaster ride against Utah that ultimately ended in yet another home loss. The Jazz beat the Mavericks 123-119 Monday night in Dallas.

For Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. had his highest scoring game in a Mavericks’ uniform, pouring in 33 points with his dad in attendance. For Utah, a three-headed monster of Bogdanovic, Mitchell, and Clarkson scored 23, 23, and 25 respectively.

The first half felt like punishment

A hot start by the aforementioned Hardaway buoyed the team early, as they were able to get out to a 12-11 lead, and things were looking pretty OK up until everything completely fell apart. Utah, despite being on the second night of a back-to-back, completely overwhelmed Dallas and opened up a lead that swelled to as much as 23 points. It was a display so disheartening, it chased our own Kirk Serious Face to an early bedtime.

Utah simply got whatever they wanted offensively, particularly in the paint where they missed just a single shot in the half, going 14-for-15. Not to mention the 40% they shot from deep. As the buzzer sounded for halftime, there would have been few who could blame you for flipping away, content to wait for the all-star break.

The third quarter was a thimble of water in the desert

Those who stuck around to see what Rick “best coach at making mid-game adjustments” Carlisle could do to right the ship had their hopes lifted and dashed against the rocks. Remember that 23 point lead? Well, by towards the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks had erased nearly all of it. The Mavs played the first eight minutes like a team on a mission, out scoring the Jazz 30-12 and closing the gap all the way to 83-80. They spent the final four minutes of that quarter getting waxed 17-4. Just when you thought the Jazz’s legs had fallen out from under them, as if maybe this had all been a genius Carlisle-orchestrated rope-a-dope, the Mavericks rope-a-doped themselves to a 16 point deficit heading to the fourth.

The fourth quarter was a long con

Not satisfied to just ruin your emotional investment in what, at one point, looked like a season high comeback, Dallas picked away at Utah’s lead throughout the fourth, but never quite got over the hump. They played a brand of defense that could be described as pesky. They created turnovers with deflections and charges, actually winning the turnover battle handily, 21-to-7. However, they didn’t do anything to prevent Utah from still finishing the game with 59/43/76 shooting splits and absolutely abusing them on the boards, 45 to 26, including 10 offensive rebounds.

Dallas, for their effort, got the game within five points with over two and a half to play in the fourth, setting you up with what might be a nail biting, chest pumping twitter breaking come from behind victory. But none of that really happened. The two teams essentially traded baskets the rest of the way, and Dallas lost by four. Certainly, much closer than Utah coach Quinn Snyder would’ve liked, but a win’s a win when you’re on the road playing a back to back. And for the Mavericks? Another home loss.

Not for nothing, the injuries keep coming

Delon Wright went down in the third quarter with an injury to his right ankle when he rolled it on the foot of a Jazz player following a layup attempt. He was in some amount of pain, but was able to walk to the locker room under his own power. He did not return to the game.

The Mavericks as a team have struggled greatly with injuries after starting the season largely healthy. Luka has been out for what seems like an eternity. Kristaps missed 10 games. Barea, Hardaway, and Curry have all been in and out with injuries, and now Delon Wright may miss some time. The All Star break can’t come soon enough.

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.