The Dallas Mavericks started 2024 in embarrassing fashion, getting destroyed by the Utah Jazz in Utah Monday night, falling 127-90. Jordan Clarkson put together the first triple-double since 2008 for Utah, scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists. Luka Doncic led a putrid Dallas effort with 19 points and 14 assists.
Kyrie Irving rejoined the starting lineup after missing 12 games due to a foot injury suffered in early December. He responded by making the first basket for Dallas. The two teams traded baskets early in the game, with second-year player Simone Fontecchio for Utah lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 14 first-quarter points. The Jazz slowly worked ahead of the Mavericks though, and Dallas found themselves behind by double digits in the first period, trailing 37-26 after twelve minutes of action.
Dallas and Utah played a game of who could commit the worst turnover to start the second, with multiple errant passes from both teams. Threes started falling for Dallas in the frame, allowing the Mavericks to inch back into it, slicing a lead that grew to as many as 14 points down to seven with over four minutes left in the quarter. The Mavericks (and mainly Luka Doncic) remained too shot-happy from beyond the three-point arc in the frame and couldn’t cut the Utah lead down past five points. They trailed Utah at the half, 62-55.
One would hope that Dallas pulled it together in the third quarter, but the general disinterest the Mavericks showed in the first half continued into the second. The Mavericks pulled within three just past the nine-minute mark only to go on a two-minute scoring drought while Utah found the bottom of the basket. A comedy of errors for Dallas continued on offense, with Dallas only able to score 12 points in the last nine minutes of the quarter. Utah doubled up their halftime lead and took a 93-79 lead into the final quarter.
The final quarter was mostly a mess, except for a very cool Kyrie Irving banked three-pointer from just above the break on the right wing. Dallas went very small in an attempt to draw out Walker Kessler but since the threes weren’t falling for Dallas consistently and the Mavericks played sloppy basketball, Utah led by over 20 points, then 30 points, and nearly eclipsing 40 points before the final whistle. Dallas loses to Utah, 127-90.
What was that?
The simple explanation for that abomination of a basketball game is that throughout 82 games, it’s going to be like that sometimes. “That”, of course, is a near-total no-show embarrassment of a performance from the basketball players who earn a living playing the sport. Perhaps the team managed to find a good time on New Year’s Eve, despite it being a Sunday night in Salt Lake City. Perhaps they were just tired from a roach trip. Perhaps they underestimated their opponent.
So many guys played really awful basketball for the Mavericks (Jaden Hardy hit some threes though and Dereck Lively made some cool plays!), that instead of doing what I’d normally do and excoriate them one at at time, I’m just going to move along.
Whatever the cause, it was an awful basketball game, one I’ll be happy to forget. It was a waste of my evening and of yours if you happened to watch. All we can do at this point is hope it’s not a harbinger of things to come in 2024 for the Dallas Mavericks.