The Dallas Mavericks should have won Game 4, but they didn’t. There are plenty of reasons why they didn’t: an abysmal second quarter, a worse fourth quarter, poor bench production, Maxi Kleber’s foul trouble, 11 turnovers, etc. Still, Dallas had a chance.
Forget about Rudy Gobert’s dunk and Dwight Powell’s missed free throws. While they invariably factored into the 100-99 loss, they didn’t seal the Mavs’ fate. With 11 seconds on the clock, Dallas was in position to win the game. The Mavericks simply squandered the last possession.
“We had the opportunity, we just let it slip away,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “Spencer has made that shot before from Luka, but we got what we wanted. The ball just didn’t go down for us.”
The Jazz trapped Luka Doncic in the final possession, forcing him to pass. Donovan Mitchell played up on Jalen Brunson to deny. Rudy Gobert played two, and he was able to put a good contest on Spencer Dinwiddie’s attempt. Amazing comeback by Utah. pic.twitter.com/8xEqyitcqN— Positive Residual (@presidual) April 23, 2022
Dallas chose not to advance the ball into the frontcourt for the final possession. It’s a decision they made numerous times throughout the regular season–for better or worse. After the inbounds pass, Jalen Brunson advanced the ball over halfcourt with just over seven seconds remaining.
The Utah Jazz, and everyone watching, knew the ball would end up in Luka Doncic’s hands. When Brunson passed to him, the Jazz quickly doubled with Bojan Bogdanovic and Danuel House Jr. with four seconds to play.
Doncic snaked to his right as time ran down. With about a second and a half left on the clock, he passed to Spencer Dinwiddie, who was on the right wing. Dinwiddie let it fly, as Gobert closed on him, and his shot fell short–the story of his game.
“We didn’t really execute it well,” Doncic said. “I should have maybe driven the ball. We should have got a better shot. It’s tough, man. We had that game. Now it’s 2-2. We have to learn from it and go to the next one.”
Before the game, Kidd spoke about the need for the ball to touch the paint. He said that the team shoots better than 50 percent when it does. That didn’t happen on the last possession. Maybe it should have. The result is a tied series rather than a commanding 3-1 lead.
“Coach has always put us in position to play to our strengths,” Brunson said. “I think, for that last shot, that just didn’t happen. That’s all.”
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