Editor’s note: We already have a recap, here, but due to a mix up we ended up getting a second one, which you can read below.
The Dallas Mavericks (35-25) fell in a tough matchup to the Utah Jazz (37-22), 109-114. Luka Doncic finished with 23 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds while Dwight Powell added 22 points. Unfortunately, Donovan Mitchell did what Donovan Mitchell does, scoring 33 while Rudy Gobert logged 14 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks, proving to be too much for the Mavericks to handle.
Dallas opened up the game aggressively with an easy Powell alley-oop, followed by a Reggie Bullock corner three, and then an easy transition layup for Jalen Brunson. The Mavericks started the game 7-7 from the field, scoring inside and out. Utah matched Dallas’ pace, showing that each of these teams were ready to hit the ground running post-all-star break. Bertans checked in toward the end of the first, knocking down two deep catch-and-shoot threes to close out the quarter including one at the buzzer to put the Mavericks up 34-31 heading into the second period.
Dinwiddie scored Dallas’ first bucket of the quarter on an iso-turnaround shot over Gobert to beat the shot clock. Maxi Kleber subbed out early into the second as Coach Jason Kidd opted to give Davis Bertans more run. That decision quickly paid off as Bertans got an easy layup followed by two back-to-back threes to give him 14 points off the bench. After a rough start, Spencer Dinwiddie converted an and-one finish over Mitchell to get himself going. He then knocks down a mid-range pull up followed by a three from the right hash. These new additions seem to be fitting in just nicely. A competitive second quarter comes to a close with Dallas up 67-60.
The third quarter got off to a tough start for Dallas, but it didn’t last long. Doncic and Powell continue to connect on their signature pick and roll with Powell slamming home an alley-oop over Hassan Whiteside resulting in an and-one. Utah caught fire from outside to bring them within one with 3:30 to go in the quarter. Kleber quickly answered with a pick and pop three to push the lead back to four, resulting in a frustrated timeout by Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder. After collecting themselves, the Jazz came out attacking and managed to push the lead to 3 to close out the third.
Dinwiddie opened up the fourth with a tough floater, earning a frustrated shrug from Jordan Clarkson. The Latvian Laser continued his impressive night stepping into a deep three followed by a pull-up transition three from Dinwiddie to swing the momentum in Dallas’ favor. Dinwiddie knocked in another three to put him up to 20 for the night. Mitchell got going once again though, pushing the Jazz back in front. Doncic wasn’t having it and responded with 5 quick points including a deep three before giving a mean mug to the crowd. Bojan Bogdanovic then knocked down an open corner three to put the Jazz up 3 with 1:30 to go. The Mavericks would not score again and fell 114-109.
Three observations from tonight.
The Bertans effect
Bertans is one of those unique players who has an uncanny ability to shoot on the move. He also has significant range. That skillset mixed with the gravity that Doncic draws from opposing defenses is nearly impossible to guard. While they may not warrant as much gravity as Doncic, Brunson and Dinwiddie’s ability to create off the dribble also allows for the Latvian Laser to get to his spots. In turn, Bertans’ range requires the defense to honor him as a shooter which opens things up for everyone else offensively. Despite the loss, Bertans and Dinwiddie had fantastic performances tonight and are blending in seamlessly with this offense. They have provided Dallas with much needed offensive depth and scoring.
This is the Dwight Powell Dallas needs
As mentioned before, Powell finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes. Doncic continued to find Powell on high pick and rolls, resulting in easy bucket after easy bucket. DP also had a few tough finishes around the rim after hitting the defense with a pump-fake, displaying his patience and ability to finish in traffic. It’s important to note that he put up these numbers against the best defensive big man in the league. The Doncic-Powell connection has become second nature which has allowed for the offense to open up and reward the shooters hanging out on the perimeter. If Powell can continue to play off Doncic so effectively and the shots continue to fall, the Mavericks will be very difficult to stop offensively.
Spencer Dinwiddie has found himself a home
Since the moment he arrived in Dallas, Dinwiddie has stepped right into his new role off the bench. While I am not a fan of the three-guard lineup consisting of Doncic-Brunson-Dinwiddie, Dinwiddie being able to play both on and off ball allows for Coach Kidd to get creative with the lineups. The newly acquired guard hit his stride tonight scoring from all over the floor, finishing with 20 points. He was showcasing his midrange game along with his ability to knock down the three. While I don’t expect him to magically become a lights out three-point shooter, I do hope that he continues to shoot so that the defense has no choice but to honor him from the outside. His offensive versatility takes some of the burden off Doncic’s shoulders which in theory should allow for him retain more energy come playoff time.
Dallas still has several kinks to work out, but they are heading in the right direction. Hopefully they can put the pieces together in time to finally get Doncic his first playoff series win.