Dallas, Dennis Smith Jr.
Photo by Loren Page/TheBallOut

Dallas, TX — After tough back-to-back losses on the road, the Dallas Mavericks were trying to regroup in their match-up at home against the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the Mavs’ sluggish start to the first quarter started with offensive miscues. Multiple players for Dallas were missing layups or having careless turnovers. Getting back in the win column was not looking good for Dallas.

Eventually, the Mavs tallied their first points on the board as Wesley Matthews connected with Luka Doncic for a lay-up. Still, the Jazz capitalized on Dallas’ sloppy offensive start and pulled down 17 rebounds en route to a 26-19 lead after one period.

As the game entered the second frame, momentum started to pick up for the Mavs. More shots started falling for the home team as Dallas outscored Utah 27-24. Turnovers also became an issue for the Jazz as the two teams combined for 21 miscues prior to halftime, giving the Mavs a window to come back.

At intermission, Utah held a four-point lead, 50-46.

In the third stanza, Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. became the man with a plan for the night. Smith Jr. became even more aggressive driving to the rim and knocking down his jump shots. By the end of the game, he tied his career-high with 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

“When he’s aggressive like that, our offensive is a totally different team, when he’s like that,” stated DeAndre Jordan on his teammates’ performance.

Feeding off of Smith Jr.’s level of play, Matthews started heating up too. Late in the fourth, Matthews hit critical baskets to keep the Mavs close, but his 22 points weren’t enough to beat Utah.

In fact, outside of Smith Jr. and Matthews, Dallas struggled to find their footing offensively with Harrison Barnes back in the fold. With a focus on spreading the offense and moving the ball around, Barnes only managed seven points for the night.

Former Dallas Mav and Utah Jazz forward, Jae Crowder was a challenging threat to guard with 15 points and six rebounds. The Jazz’s balanced offense included Donovan Mitchell knocking down 20 points and Rudy Gobert contributing 23 points, 16 rebounds.

When the buzzer sounded to end the fourth quarter, the Mavs loss to the Utah Jazz, 113-104.

“A lot of everything in this league comes down to force and disposition,” shared Dallas’ head coach Carlisle, “And top to bottom, we had some very good stretches but in most cases they were reactive… You never want to be a reactor in this league.”

With the possibility of seeing Devin Harris back in action in the next two games, the Mavs will need to focus their efforts on finding cohesive starts and strong finishes to games.

Dallas will be challenged once again as the team hits the road to face the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night and the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 31.

 

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