DALLAS – In an odd way, something as mundane as a pair of technical fouls wound up helping spur the Dallas Mavericks to that gigantic record-setting 50-point win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
Center DeAndre Jordan was whistled for a technical foul while sitting on the bench with 2:24 remaining before halftime. Some 16 seconds later, rookie forward Luka Doncic was tagged with a technical foul, and suddenly the Mavs found themselves only ahead of the Jazz 52-46 with 1:54 left in the first half.
Final score: Mavs 118, Jazz 68.
Thus, after that technical foul on Doncic, the Mavs went ballistic and outscored the Jazz 66-22. That includes holding Utah to 22 points in the second half, including just nine points in the fourth quarter.
The 22 points are the fewest the Mavs have ever allowed in any half in franchise history. And the 50-point loss was the worst by the Jazz since they moved from New Orleans to Utah in 1979.
Those pair of fire and brimstone technical fouls charged to Jordan and Doncic apparently lit a fire under the Mavs. In a way, it energized the Mavs and catapulted them to their third consecutive victory and increased their won-loss record to 6-8 heading into Saturday night’s home game against the two-time defending world champion Golden State Warriors.
“I told DJ we need some of that sometimes,” guard J. J. Barea said. “That’s energy that we need.
“We can’t have it all the time and lose focus on the refs. But occasions like that, I think it was good that he did it and we all on the bench were kind of going crazy and I think it helped us out in the second half.”
Following those two technical fouls the Mavs seized control of the game and effectively snatched the fight completely out of the Jazz. Before the Jazz knew it they were down 84-59 entering the fourth quarter.
“In recent games we’ve had runs made against us,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “(Wednesday) we made more runs than Utah made and that’s always part of a winning formula.
“When Oklahoma made a run (last Saturday), when Washington made a run (on Nov. 6), and Chicago made runs at us (this past Monday), we responded well.
“We’ve responded with a calm and a collective toughness that you need.”
That clam and collective toughness helped the Mavs register their third-ever 50-point victory in franchise history. Guard Devin Harris described the Mavs’ bulldog defensive performance by saying:
“It’s a mixture of us playing good defense and they missed a ton of shots, too. But we didn’t let any of their guys get into a rhythm. I thought defensively we were active all night long and just kept them off-balanced.”
Barea came to a similar conclusion.
“The defense, we’re staying more basic and more solid,” he said. “Everybody is just making a point of guarding their guy and helping each other out and it’s been good.
“So hopefully we get the same energy every night.”