Dallas came into Utah looking to bounce back from an ugly loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks knew they would have to contain Utah’s electric rookie Donovan Mitchell and keep the Jazz of the boards. While they managed the rebounding situation, the Louisville rookie carried Utah to a 97-90 win Saturday night.
Aside from Harrison Barnes putting Derrick Favors on a nasty poster early, there were few bright spots in the first for Dallas. The Mavs shot 1-10 from behind the arc, and the team went 39% from the field. Former Maverick Jae Crowder came off the bench and provided an immediate spark for the Jazz. In just six minutes, Crowder put up seven points and made life difficult for Dallas on the perimeter.
The Mavs went into the second quarter in a 35-23 hole. However, the vets dug deep and carried the team out. Newest Maverick, Doug McDermott appeared only briefly in the first, but put up a quick nine points in the second. Speaking of McDermott, the backup unit consisting of JJ, Yogi, Dirk, Dwight Powell and the afore mentioned McDermott, went on a 30-10 run to close the gap. The first-half battle between DSJ and Donovan Mitchell went to the latter as Mitchell went into the break with nine points, three assists and two rebounds. Dennis Smith Jr. scored just two points on 1-8 shooting. The Jazz took to halftime boasting a lead that had quickly shriveled to just three: 53-50.
The third quarter started off with the Jazz trying their best to pull away from Dallas. The Mavericks tied it up at 57 all, but Utah would not let them take the lead as they went on a 6-0 run early. Both teams scored 21 points in the quarter, but the issue for Dallas came via Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell caught fire and through three, the lottery pick had 21 points, five assists and five rebounds. Dallas found themselves still attempting to conquer that three-point deficit heading into the fourth.
The Jazz continued to keep the Mavericks at arm’s length in the fourth until Yogi Ferrell beat the shot clock with 5:34 left to play to tie the game at 85 all. Once again, it was the JJ-Yogi-Dwight-Dirk-Doug lineup that got the Mavs into another clutch situation. However, after taking the lead for what seemed like seconds, the Jazz quickly pulled away again. The Mavericks continued to fight, but could not climb that three-point mountain. The game ended with three straight Dallas turnovers and two missed shots; the Jazz sealed it: 97-90.
The good of this game came from the vets. Dirk finished with his fifth double-double of the season: 12 points and 10 rebounds; while JJ logged his sixth double-double this year with 17 points and 12 assists. On a not-so-positive note, Dennis Smith Jr. ended his night with seven points on an abysmal 2-11 from the field. This ended Junior’s 23-game streak of scoring in double digits.Dallas is now 8-29 in clutch games this season. While it may seem like a discouraging statistic, the fact that this rebuilding team is in that many close games should serve as some comfort to Maverick fans.
Dallas will look to bounce back in the American Airlines Center on Monday, as Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers come to town.
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