The Mavericks lost their fourth game in a row, falling to the Jazz 120-101. It was a dispiriting effort from Dallas, who yet again showed a level of lethargy and carelessness not often seen by a professional basketball team. The team has a hard schedule and terrible luck with health, but at a certain point, they have to show up and play basketball at a high level. Or maybe at least a competitive one.
The offense was disjointed to start the game, as the Mavericks were only able to put up 12 points in the first quarter. The Jazz, however, had no problem getting buckets, hitting seven 3-pointers on their way to 37 points in the opening frame. This was despite missing their star Donovan Mitchell, out for the second straight game due to concussion protocols. Dallas fought back in the second, cutting the deficit to 16, but Utah roared back in the third, outscoring the Mavericks by ten on with another barrage of shots from deep.
Not much changed in the fourth. Luka Doncic put up a respectable line of 25 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way for the Jazz, scoring 32 points and shooting 7-of-11 from deep.
It’s getting repetitive, but the same problems haunt this team from game to game. Much of it can be solved by effort; some of it would be solved by shots just falling, which percentages say will eventually happen. So if everything discussed below feels familiar, it is. Here are three things from another demoralizing loss to the Jazz.
Kristaps Porzingis is in a bad, bad place.
Porzingis had a terrible first half — 1-of-4 shooting from the field, three points, and three rebounds. He also had three fouls, and quickly picked up two more less than two minutes into the third quarter. Porzingis got some run in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided, eventually finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
There’s plenty to complain about with Porzingis. He’s not shooting well, or doing much on defense, or rebounding at all. The Mavericks brought him to Dallas to be the second star and to carry the scoring load when Doncic sits. He’s not doing that and can’t influence the game when he doesn’t score. The Mavericks can only hope his shooting form returns soon, because they need all the help they can get right now.
The Mavericks rebounding woes continue.
Dallas was bludgeoned on the boards, as the Jazz outrebounded the Mavericks 56-40. They were especially crushed on the defensive end, giving up 17 offensive rebounds while only grabbing eight themselves. This isn’t due to roster size or talent. The Mavericks were fourth in the NBA in team rebounding last season. Most of that roster returned this year.
The difference is the effort level, which has been mentioned enough. They don’t have to win the rebounding battle every night, but they can’t lose it by this much. At some point they have to show some pride and attack every loose ball like it’s the seventh game of a playoff series.
3-point shooting buried the Mavericks early
The Jazz hit their 3-pointers, and the Mavericks did not. It’s that simple.
Utah shot 41 percent from behind the arc, while Dallas only hit 27 percent. At some point the Mavericks have to hold opponents to a reasonable percentage from deep, and make their own shots. Doncic is setting up the Mavericks’ shooters for good looks. They’re just not falling. Maybe that will change going forward, but for now Dallas will have a tough time winning if they don’t reverse their fortune from the 3-point line.
The Mavericks don’t have much time to figure out how to right the ship. They’re back in Dallas tomorrow night to face the Suns at 8 p.m. CST.