The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz Tuesday night in Dallas, winning 120-116. It was the final game of a six-game home stand in which the Mavericks finished 3-3. That’s a little disappointing considering 10 of the Mavericks’ 16 remaining games are on the road, where they’re 12-19, but at least they capped it off with a win.
Both teams played sloppy throughout the game, with 33 combined turnovers between them. Neither would go on any big runs in the second half, and they traded the lead several times in the fourth quarter. In the end, Kyrie Irving provided a huge spark in the final five minutes of the game. The Jazz didn’t have anyone who could match his scoring and their offense fizzled out, ceding the game to the Mavericks at the end.
Irving led the Mavericks with 33 points while also dishing out eight assists. Luka Doncic scored 29 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in 24 points off the bench. Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 33 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Here are three thoughts from the game:
The addition of Kyrie Irving has sped up the Dallas offense
Prior to acquiring Irving, the Mavericks were routinely outscored on fast break points, and by wide margins. Not anymore. Irving pushes the ball off of opponents’ misses, and it’s getting the offense better shots. That’s helpful for a team that has a tendency to get stuck in the mud on offense for a few minutes every quarter most games.
Even more important, Doncic has started to play faster as well. He’s not pushing the ball up court himself, necessarily, but seems more willing to throw long outlet passes to teammates running hard on the break. It’s something we’ve wanted to see for years, and it’s finally happening.
Doncic appears worn out
Doncic is dealing with a thigh injury, and it’s evident it’s giving him some issues. But more than that, he just looks worn out by the load he’s had to carry for 56 games this year. He’s missing layups, his shot is coming up short, and he’s not very active on defense. Sure, bad games for Doncic usually end in lines of 24/7/5, but sometimes this shallow Mavericks team needs a lot more from him. Hopefully the Mavericks can get him some rest down the stretch, but with their positioning in the standings, it’s unlikely.
Tim Hardaway Jr. remains a streaky enigma
All year I haven’t known what to think about Hardaway. He has the games where he goes 0-of-9 from deep and scores zero points. But he also has games like tonight, where it feels like he can’t miss and scores almost 30 points. It never feels like he shoots Dallas out of a game, but you would love to see him be more consistent. That’s probably never going to be what happens, though. He’s been in the league a decade and this is who he is. The Mavericks will just have to hope he goes on one of these hot streaks at the right time in the playoffs, then shop for a similar player who’s a steadier scorer in the offseason.
Maybe the All-Star break did Hardaway some wonders — he’s an astonishing 29-of-46 (63 percent) from three after the break.
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