NBA

4 things: Dallas Mavericks beat Utah Jazz 103-100

4 things: Dallas Mavericks beat Utah Jazz 103-100

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz Wednesday night at Dallas, 103-100. The win brings the Mavericks’ record to 4-3. It’s a great way to start November for the Mavericks. The loss drops the surprising Jazz to 6-3.

The Jazz built a big lead in the first quarter, going 15-4 to run at one point. The reason? The Mavericks’ less-than-stellar defense led to some open shots behind the arc for the Jazz, and they converted, going 6-for-11 from deep in the first quarter. The Mavericks tightened things up, though, and had some rebound luck. Utah was 0-for-7 on 3-pointers in the second quarter. Dallas also made getting to the rim a priority, going 8-of-12 in the paint in the second quarter, up from 4-of-5 in the first quarter. The Jazz went into halftime with a three-point lead, 50-47.

They came out of the half with a bang, with a 14-4 run that took them to a double-digit lead. But Dallas refused to let them run away with the game, once again tightening up on defense and chipping away at the Jazz’s lead. The Mavericks began to realize that Utah had no one to guard Christian Wood, and they cried. Finally, midway through the fourth quarter, the Mavericks started hitting shots from deep and took the lead on a corner 3-pointer by Josh Green. After that, the three started to fall and the Mavericks pulled away. The Jazz were able to mount their own comeback with less than two minutes remaining, but Reggie Bullock sealed the win with a dagger corner three late.

Luka Doncic led all scorers with a final 33 points, five rebounds and 11 assists. Wood scored 21 points off the bench. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz in scoring with 22 points.

Christian Wood’s ability to make a difference is becoming undeniable

There has been a lot of discussion online and off about Wood’s minutes. Jason Kidd has certainly been erratic with his distribution, and the speculation is due to his defense. And there were plenty of examples tonight of Wood not knowing where he needed to be on defense and missing rotations. But his ability to get buckets will make it difficult for Kidd to keep him on the bench. He is the only non-guard on the team who can create his own shot. Can mark inside and outside. His rebounding has been a great addition. Wood finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting. I was taking a wait-and-see approach with Wood despite his talent. I don’t think I have much longer to wait.

The Mavericks limited the Jazz’s fast break points

The Jazz like to run quite a bit, sitting in the top half of the league with 15.4 fastbreak points per game. Tonight, the Mavericks held them to just 10. That was a big factor in the win. Meanwhile, the usually sloppy Mavericks finished with 11 fast-break points. It’s not particularly insightful to point out that preventing easy baskets while getting some of your own is a great way to win basketball games, but seeing Dallas do it every now and then would be nice.

Dwight Powell is still doing his thing

I don’t know what to do with Powell. Its limitations are clear, especially against elite teams, but when it’s on, the offense seems to work better. He knows when to dive in, when to get out, and where to be at all times in between. He is also the best screen creator on the team. Powell is fundamentally sound defensively, but he can get bullied down low, so he causes some problems against teams with great talent. Still, he finished with nine points and five rebounds. It was +25 for the game.

The Mavericks won with clutch shots

It won’t technically go down as clutch minutes, but the Mavericks started hitting big shots from deep in the fourth quarter. He helped them pull away and win the game. They shot 5-for-10 on 3-pointers in the period. Bullock’s clutch corner 3-pointer to tie the game was the game’s perfect score. That fourth quarter looked like the team that went to the Western Conference Finals last season. Hopefully they can get four quarters back together soon.

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