The Utah Jazz held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks Saturday night in Utah, 108-100. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Mavericks with 35 points, four rebounds and eight assists. Reggie Bullock stayed hot from deep and finished 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. For the Jazz, it was Lauri Markkannen who led the team with 29 points and hit clutch shots in some key moments. Early on, it appeared the Mavericks were well on our way to a blowout loss, but Dinwiddie refused to let the game out of hand. Let’s take a look at how the game unfolded.
It was evident from the start that the Mavericks lacked the type of defender that could give Markkanen fits. In fact, all of the Jazz players played with a certain confidence that comes from knowing the opponent can do very little to keep you from playing your style of offense. There was a 9-1 run in the quarter which included ridiculous shots from Clarkson, Malik Beasley, and Rudy Gay in consecutive possessions. For the Mavericks, it was the Spencer Dinwiddie show. Josh Green and Dwight Powell did everything they could to eliminate the space around Dinwiddie, but he was able to weave in and out of some tight spaces and knock down some difficult shots. The quarter ended with the jazz shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Dallas, on the other hand, shot just 42.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.
The second quarter started off as a brick fest between the two teams. Mercifully, a Bullock three point shot ended a scoring drought from the Mavs and cut the deficit to nine. It appeared the Mavericks had gotten back into the game before poor transition play on both ends of the floor allowed the Jazz to pull away. The rest of the quarter was Dinwiddie going 1-on-5 while the Jazz toyed with the Mavs defense. The Jazz capped off the quarter with a Hail Mary three from Beasley that swished through just as the halftime buzzer sounded. After two quarters it was Utah comfortably ahead 66-48.
It was clear the Jazz simply could not stop Dinwiddie in the third. Dinwiddie was a one-man wrecking crew hitting threes and setting up teammates for easy looks. The Jazz started playing like the game was in hand and scored just 18 points in the frame. I would love to say the Mavericks buckled down on the defensive end, but it was simply bad offense by the Jazz. They stopped moving and most possessions ended with a contested jumper to try and beat the shot clock. Dallas cut the lead to eight as the quarter finished with Utah leading 84-76.
In the final frame, the Mavericks were able to tread water the first half of the quarter but had some key misses at some inopportune times. The Jazz increased their lead to 10 points with just under seven minutes left. The Dallas defense eventually woke up and allowed Dallas to cut the lead to five before Markkanen hit a back breaking three point shot with two minutes left. The game petered out from there and the Mavs were unable to narrow the deficit. The game ended with Dallas losing 108-100.
The offense needs Doncic for Dallas to have a real chance
The idea that the team plays a more fluid style of offense in Luka’s absence is a myth. It was the same heliocentric offense relying one person to make the bulk of the decision. The role players are limited and incapable of threatening opposing defenses in a way that forces them to rotate and make mistakes.
Outside of Dinwiddie, the passes were a split second too late and mostly inaccurate. Had the Jazz kept their foot on the pedal, the game would have been well out of hand entering the fourth quarter. This is a flawed roster with a flawed coach and relying on individual brilliance from players is not a sustainable model. It wasn’t good enough to beat a mediocre Jazz team and probably won't be good enough to make any noise once the playoffs roll around.
You can listen to our latest podcast episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Mavs Moneyball podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Castbox.
You can check our our After Dark Recap podcasts, Spotify Live recordings, Moneyball Minute shows, and guest shows on the Mavs Moneyball Podcast feed. Please subscribe, rate, and review.