The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz Wednesday night in Dallas, 103-100. The win brings the Mavericks’ record to 4-3. It’s a great way to start November for the Mavericks. The loss brings the surprising Jazz to 6-3.
The Jazz raced to a big lead in the first quarter, going on a 15-4 to run at one point. The reason? Less than stellar defense by the Mavericks led to some open shots behind the arc by the Jazz, and they converted them, going 6-of-11 from deep in the first quarter. The Mavericks tightened things up, though, and got some regression luck. Utah went 0-of-7 on 3-pointers in the second quarter. Dallas also made getting to the rim a priority, going 8-of-12 in the paint in the second quarter, as opposed to 4-of-5 in the first quarter. The Jazz went into halftime with a three point lead, 50-47.
They came out of the half with a burst, going on a 14-4 run that led to a double digit lead. But Dallas refused to let them run away with the game, stiffening the defense again and chipping away at the Jazz’s lead. The Mavericks started to realize that Utah had no one to guard Christian Wood, and he went on a tear. Finally, in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Mavericks started hitting shots from deep and went ahead on a Josh Green corner 3-pointer. After that, the threes started falling and the Mavericks pulled away. The Jazz were able to mount their own comeback with less than two minutes left, but Reggie Bullock locked up the win with a dagger corner three late.
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 33 points to go along with five rebounds and 11 assists. Wood chipped in 21 points off the bench. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz in scoring with 22 points.
Christian Wood’s ability to make a difference is becoming undeniable
There’s been plenty of discussion online and off about Wood’s minutes. Jason Kidd has certainly been erratic with their distribution, and the speculation is due to his defense. And there were plenty of examples tonight of Wood not knowing where he should be on the defensive end, and missing rotations. But his ability to get buckets is going to make it hard for Kidd to keep him on the bench. He’s the only non-guard on the team who can create his own shot. He can score on the inside and outside. His rebounding has been a huge addition. Wood finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting. I was very much taking a wait-and-see approach with Wood despite his talent. I don’t think I have much more to wait for.
The Mavericks limited fast break points by the Jazz
The Jazz like to run a little, sitting in the top half of the league with 15.4 fast break points per game. Tonight, the Mavericks held them to just 10. That was a huge factor in the win. The typically plodding Mavericks, meanwhile, ended up with 11 fast break points. It’s not particularly insightful to point out that preventing easy baskets while getting a few of your own is a good way to win basketball games, but seeing Dallas do it every now and then would be nice.
Dwight Powell is still doing his thing
I don’t know what to do with Powell. His limitations are clear, especially against elite teams, but when he’s in the game, the offense just seems to work better. He knows when to dive, when to pop, and where to be at all times in between. He’s also the best screen setter on the team. Powell is fundamentally sound on defense, but can be bullied down low, so it causes some issues against teams with talented bigs. Anyway, he finished with nine points and five rebounds. He was +25 for the game.
The Mavericks won with clutch shooting
Technically it won’t go down as clutch minutes, but the Mavericks started hitting big shots from deep in the fourth quarter. It helped them pull away and win the game. They shot 5-of-10 on 3-pointers in the period. Bullock’s clutch corner 3-pointer to put the game away was the perfect punctuation on the game. That fourth quarter looked like the team that went to the Western Conference finals last season. Hopefully they’ll be able to put together four quarters of that again soon.
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