Game 1 was about as playoff basketball as it gets.
The Utah Jazz outlasted the Dallas Mavericks to take a 1-0 lead in the series, 99-93.
Ultimately, the Mavericks couldn’t overcome the 30-point second-half performance by Donovan Mitchell, who scored just 2 points in the first half, along with the dominant defensive presence of Rudy Gobert in the middle.
“The looks that we got, we normally make. We gave ourselves a chance to win without Luka and that’s a sign of a good team,” Jason Kidd said. “They are the No. 1 offensive team. I thought the gameplan was great, they didn’t score 100 points. We just didn’t have offense at the end.”
The Mavericks came out cold to start the first quarter, as the Jazz jumped out to an 8-2 lead. But Dallas quickly rallied, going on a 14-2 run and closing the first quarter with a 23-20 lead.
Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic went on a run of his own in the second quarter, scoring 12 in the second which included a 3-pointer at the top of the key with just 2.2 seconds remaining in the half to give the Jazz a 45-43 lead at halftime.
Dallas did a fantastic job hounding Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in the first half, scoring just 2 points on 1-of-9 shooting as noted previously.
But that changed in the second half, as Mitchell caught fire and helped lead Utah to victory in Game 1.
Rudy Gobert dominated this game on the defensive end for the Jazz. Gobert’s presence steered Mavericks away from wanting to attack the paint, and when they did, he was there to misdirect or contest their attempts.
Timely missed free throws and shots from outside down the stretch put the nail in Dallas’ coffin as they’ll head into Monday’s Game 2 in need of a win.
“We had a chance to win the game and we didn’t do it,” Spencer Dinwiddie said, who missed six free throws in the game.
Jalen Brunson finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists on 9-of-24 shooting, with the majority of those misses being contested in the paint by Gobert.
Spencer Dinwiddie finished with 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists but struggled from the free throw line down the stretch in the fourth quarter, hitting just 10-of-16 attempts.
The Mavericks will look to bounce back in Game 2 on Monday with hopes of having Luka Doncic back in uniform.
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