The Dallas Mavericks were defeated 100-99 by the Utah Jazz. The Mavericks struggled with their shot for the majority of the game with the exception of a hot stretch during the third quarter. They still had a chance to put a ton of pressure on the Jazz with Dwight Powell shooting free throws with 19.8 seconds left and the Mavericks up one. He missed both free throws. The Jazz then scored on a dunk and the Mavericks were unable to make a desperation heave after a poor last possession. The series now comes back to Dallas tied 2-2.
Here are the stats to know.
42. Number of free throws the Utah Jazz shot
This could be blamed in some part on the referees but the fact of the matter is NBA teams have to play through unfavorable whistles. The Mavericks must do a better job of defending without fouling. A large number of these fouls were due to defensive breakdowns after Luka Doncic was beaten following a pick and roll. They will need to clean this up going forward.
13: Number of points scored by the entire Mavericks bench
Game 3 felt like the Mavericks couldn’t miss. Game 4 felt like no one could hit water if they fell out of a boat. There was hope that Luka returning and moving Spencer Dinwiddie to the bench would provide a jolt to the bench. That has not happened yet. The Mavericks are not a deep team but they simply have to get more from the bench. Reggie Bullock still had to play 45:40. They have to find him some rest at some point.
13: Total number of steals and blocks by all players combined
This is an incredibly low number for an NBA game. It is cliche to say so, but so much of the NBA comes down to making or missing shots. Because of this and the low number of turnovers by both teams (19 total), it is a bit odd that the offenses were so bad in this game. The fact of the matter is neither team made nearly as many shots as they should have.
6: Number of fouls by Maxi Kleber in 18 minutes
Kleber received a tough whistle but he simply has to keep himself on the court longer. He provides the Mavericks with the ability to play the five out offense that has proven to be the Jazz’ Achilles’ heel over the last few postseasons. Kleber is the Mavericks best defensive big, but his role has changed. There may be times when it is better for him to concede one bucket rather than commit a foul. He needs to realize this and do a better job of adjusting to the whistle in any particular game.
34: Number of minutes Luka Doncic played
The most important stat of the night, Luka played his first minutes of the postseason and while he was attacked defensively in the pick and roll, he generally appeared to move well. He chipped in 30 points and 10 rebounds on an efficient 11-of-21 from the field, 4-of-10 from three and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Overall, the Mavericks fell to a tie in the series but they got their most important player back. They also got through the hiccups of incorporating such a high usage player back into offense. This game should be a mere speed bump on the way to the first series win of the Luka Doncic era.
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