The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz 114-110 Sunday night in Dallas. The win moves the Mavericks one game ahead of the Jazz for fourth place in the Western Conference with only six games left in the season.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before—the Mavericks started of an important game looking sluggish. Despite the Jazz being down two of their best players in Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Mavericks struggled early. They didn’t fall apart defensively, but did spring some leaks, giving up 29 points in the first quarter.
More importantly, they couldn’t get anything going on offense, scoring only 21 points. The Mavericks got their offense back on track in the second quarter, scoring 37 points and closing the gap to one point. Only the defense remained sloppy to close the half.
Dallas started the third quarter on a 14-4 run to pull ahead 72-63 and never looked back. The Jazz made some runs, but ultimately never got close again. Luka Doncic led all scorers with 32 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Here are four things from the game:
The Mavericks shot the lights out
The Jazz shot 52% from behind the arc in the first half. Unfortunately for them, the Mavericks shot 56%. That hot shooting only continued in the second half, with Dallas hitting 50% of its 3-pointers for the game. Sometimes you just simply outshoot an opponent. The Mavericks had it happen to them against one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA in the Oklahoma City Thunder this year.
Fortunately tonight, it was the Mavericks who couldn’t miss from deep. Five different Mavericks shot at least 50% from behind the arc. The Mavericks also shot 51% from the floor. They were on fire from everywhere on the court.
The Mavericks didn’t take advantage of Rudy Gobert’s absence
In the first half, despite there being no Gobert protecting the rim, the Mavericks only took six shots in the restricted area, and 15 shots in the paint total. The Jazz, meanwhile, took 24 shots in the paint, 14 of which came in the restricted area.
The Mavericks started to get to the rim in the second quarter, when they went 4-of-5 in the restricted area. That continued in the second half, but Dallas just didn’t attack the rim like you would think considering the absence of the perennial contender for Defensive Player of the Year.
The Mavericks finished the game with only 16 shots in the restricted area, while the Jazz took 27. Utah took 50 shots in the paint, and Dallas only 34. The Jazz outscored them by 56-38 in the paint.
Dallas was lucky the shots were falling tonight. Maybe they didn’t attack the rim as much because they shot so well. Either way, it didn’t matter, because it’s hard to lose when you shoot 51% from the floor and hit every other 3-pointer you take.
The best version of Reggie Bullock lifts the Mavericks’ ceiling
Bullock finished the night shooting 7-of-11 from deep. When a 3-and-D wing like Bullock scores 20+ points, the Mavericks become hard to beat. The Mavericks are 15-2 this season when Bullock hits four or more 3-pointers.
He’s become a less volatile version of Tim Hardaway Jr., whose scoring is missed, but could be feast or famine at times. Bullock’s 3-point shooting lifts the Mavericks to another level, and when his shot is falling from deep, along with his perimeter defense, he’s easily the Mavericks’ fourth best player. You could talk me into third best on some nights. Bullock has proven to be a great offseason pickup.
Jalen Brunson is still pretty good
Spencer Dinwiddie has taken up most of the digital ink for the Mavericks lately, and with good reason. But the Mavericks still have Brunson, and he’s still pretty good. He scored 22 points tonight, as well as dishing out five assists and grabbing 10 boards. When he shares the floor with Luka and Dinwiddie, the Mavericks have three capable playmaking scorers on the floor. That’s huge going into the playoffs.
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