The Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz 111-101 in Dallas Wednesday night. It was a great way to open the preseason, and new head coach Jason Kidd’s first unofficial victory. The Mavericks led most of the second half.
Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 19 points, adding in five assists and six rebounds, all in one half of play. Boban Marjanovic chipped in 14 points off the bench while also leading the team in rebounds with nine. Training camp invite Carlik Jones put up 13 points as well. Jared Butler led the way for the Jazz with 22 points despite coming off the bench.
With the caveat that it’s just one game, and a preseason one at that, here are some interesting stats from a Mavericks win over the Jazz:
8: The number of assists from Jalen Brunson
Brunson’s development as a playmaker off the bench is crucial to the Mavericks’ success this season. So it was particularly heartening to see him dish out eight assists in 21 minutes. If Brunson can take a leap and run the offense more efficiently while Luka sits, it’ll help the Mavericks win some games they’ve lost in recent years. The most encouraging thing from his play against the Jazz was that some of those assists came after penetrating the paint and dishing off to a cutting teammate. In the past Brunson hasn’t seen those opportunities (or teammates weren’t cutting), so it shows he’s made progress as a point guard.
30: The number of 3-point attempts by the Mavericks
Last year the Mavericks averaged 38 attempts from deep per game. Again, it’s only one game, we’re dealing with the smallest of sample sizes here. But 30 3-point attempts per game would have ranked 25th in the NBA last season, tied with the New York Knicks. In the third quarter, the Mavericks only shot four times from behind the arc. But the Mavericks as constructed have to take 3-pointers. It’s something our own Josh Bowe brought up concerns about this week:
Dallas has ranked fourth, second and sixth in three point attempts per game in Doncic’s first three seasons in the NBA.
Kidd potentially dragging that number down could have catastrophic consequences. Those role players thrive on a diet of steady three point shots fed to them by Doncic. There isn’t really another alternative for guys like Finney-Smith, Kleber and Bullock. If those guys aren’t taking threes, what do those possessions turn into?
Again, it’s only one preseason game, perhaps Kidd wanted to emphasize attacking the rim on Wednesday. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.
100%: Boban’s 3-point shooting percentage
The Mavericks’ lovable big man showed some range against the Jazz, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third quarter. Boban is just here for vibes and to take up space in the paint when another big is hurt. But basketball is supposed to be fun, and when he’s hitting shots from deep in a game that doesn’t count, well, that’s a blast.