The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Utah Jazz 99-93. The game was ugly as the Mavericks clearly missed Luka Doncic’ steadying hand on offense and the Jazz continued their late season malaise offensively. The Mavericks got out to a lead in the second quarter before the Jazz clawed back to take a two point lead into half time. The Jazz then stretched the lead all the way to a dozen until the Mavericks made a late run. The Mavericks cut the lead all the way to one on a Maxi Kleber three with 2:12 left. The Mavericks could never quite get over the hill though and the Jazz stole home court with a game one victory.
Here are the stats to know.
44: Number of minutes played by both Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock
Both played solid defense and provided an impressive level of energy given the high level of minutes. The Mavericks will have to rely on them to play incredibly extended minutes because they simply do not have any other options on the wing with Luka out.
They also shot 5-of-13 on threes combined while the rest of the team combined for 4-of-19 shooting from three. They combined for 29 points and honestly just really did a very good job of filling their roles. How well they bounce back on short rest will be an important factor in Game 2.
0: Number of everything except for steals for Josh Green
Josh Green was horrendous today. He willingly took the shots he received as he needs to do, but he did not make any. Unfortunately there are no participation trophies in the playoffs. Green’s struggles are one of the major reasons why the team has to play Finney-Smith and Bullock so many minutes. He needs to find his shooting touch or another way to contribute before Game 2.
20: Number of second chance points for the Jazz
The Mavericks have no one who can truly contend with Rudy Gobert’s size so they tried a novel defensive approach. They simply didn’t guard him. The Jazz repeatedly failed to see the biggest man on the court but not guarding him meant that he was free to roam for offensive rebounds which he did. He was only credited with two offensive rebounds but his presence caused many loose balls to be picked up by teammates. The Mavericks need to find an answer for his sheer size going forward.
5: Number of assists for Jalen Brunson
Brunson played 41 minutes and took 24 shots. He had the ball a ton and simply did not pass enough. There is a lot of pressure of Brunson to create more offense without Luka. That being said, Luka is a generational playmaker as well as a generational scorer and so many players on this team require their looks to be created for them. Brunson must be a more willing passer for the Mavericks to have any hope to advance.
9: Number of points the Mavericks outscored the Jazz by during Dwight Powell’s 22 minutes
Powell did not have a particularly good statistical game. He scored only four points and collected only five rebounds but the offense simply looks better when he is on the court. At its heart, this offense relies on cycling pick after pick until there is an advantage. Powell is the only high level screener on the team and his absence is noticeable when the flow of the offense grinds to a halt without him. Further, he did a fantastic job defensively staying in front of Jazz guards and forwards.
Overall, this was a disappointing game as it felt like the Mavericks had a chance to steal one without Luka. Fans should not be overly upset though as this game also showed that the Mavericks can play with the Jazz, even without their superstar.
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