No one thought the Dallas Mavericks would be the better rebounding team. In their playoff series with the Utah Jazz, Utah has all the advantages on the glass. Still, it wasn’t supposed to be this bad.
In Game 1, the Jazz outrebounded the Mavericks by a margin of 53-34. Utah center Rudy Gobert accounted for a substantial chunk of those, grabbing a total of 17. Improving on the glass is something the Mavericks know they need to do.
“I think we talked about it before the game and through the week–we’ve got to rebound the ball,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “We have to do a better job as smalls to get back and help. That’s something that, again, we knew was going to be an issue, especially playing small. I thought that the guys fought. That’s just something that we’ve got to get better at. If we can do that, then hopefully that will put us in a better seat to win.”
Gobert makes teams adjust on both sides of the ball. Even though he was a net positive throughout the game, his presence neutralized Dallas center Dwight Powell. In fact, Gobert stifled the entirety of the Mavericks in the paint and restricted area all game.
“Everyone looks small to me,” Gobert said.
While Dallas was able to limit his offensive production, Gobert was still able to pull down 15 defensive rebounds and two offensive boards. The Mavericks will look to slow him down next game.
“Just focus on getting Rudy off the glass, that’s the biggest part of it,” Jalen Brunson said. “Fifteen boards is a lot for defensive rebounds, so getting the rebound, I think, is our carry over into Game 2.”
Despite being the starting center, Powell is not known for his rebounding prowess. What really hurt Dallas was not having their best rebounder–Luka Doncic–available. Still, the guards and wings stepped up where they could.
Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, and Dorian Finney-Smith surpassed their regular season averages in rebounding in Game 1. Brunson led the way with seven, a postseason career high. Dinwiddie, Bullock, and Finney-Smith had four, six, and five, respectively. Dinwiddie’s and Bullock’s rebounding totals were also postseason career highs.
It was not enough. Making matters worse, the Jazz had 13 offensive rebounds. That led to 20 second chance points for them. The Mavericks only grabbed seven offensive boards and netted just seven second chance points.
“Rebounding was one of the things Coach talked about,” Finney-Smith said. “We really just need to keep them off the offensive glass. Those second-chance points are big, especially the threes.”
The Mavericks know what they need to do next game. They must go gangbusters on the glass, sending their whole team to the glass. It won’t be easy, and it comes with risks, but after losing a close game, it’s what they need to do to even the series.
“Just rebound, everybody has to get back, get in there and send five guys to the board opposed to their two or three,” Dinwiddie said. “We know Royce [O’Neale] is going to crash in the corners, Bojan [Bogdanovic] may crash and obviously Gobert and [Hassan] Whiteside are going to be in there. We just have to send all five and make sure we get the defensive rebound.”
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