Once Jalen Brunson looked at his less than glamorous shooting performance in Game 1 of the Dallas Mavericks’ first-Jalenround playoff series against the Utah Jazz, he instantly knew he had to make some changes.

Brunson noticed an un-Brunson-like 9-of-24 shooting output from the floor in the series opener, and that didn’t sit well with him. So when Game 2 rolled around Monday, no one in particular had to tell Brunson what to do to prepare himself for that pivotal contest.

“Most importantly, I think in Game 1 I missed a lot of shots that I normally make, so I wasn’t trying to go away from that necessarily,” Brunson said. “I think the biggest takeover from Game 1 was kind of just staying with it, staying patient and just playing my game.

“I didn’t have to change too much besides just slowing down and just concentrating a little more and just continuing to play hard for as long as I was out there.”

Whatever methods Brunson used to get himself in the right frame of mind after Game 1, they definitely worked as he scored a career-high 41 points in Game 2 on 15-of-25 shooting. That includes playing 42 minutes while committing no turnovers.

Thus, Brunson became the first player in Mavs history to score at least 40 points in a playoff game without committing a turnover. That’s remarkable considering, as the point guard, he has the ball a considerable amount of time while playing against Utah’s pressing defense.

The Mavs, in fact, committed a franchise playoff low just three turnovers. And all of them were committed in the first half by Spencer Dinwiddie.

“That was a big emphasis that was said after the game,” Brunson said, referring to the low turnover count. “We had great ball movement in the second half with I think zero turnovers in the second half. We’re just out there playing just together. Everything was kind of fluid.

Jalen“Obviously the ball was going in for me, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my teammates. They gave me a lot of confidence and that’s a credit to them and the coaching staff personally.”

In addition to grabbing eight rebounds and handing out five assists Monday, Brunson was 6-of-10 from behind the three-point arc. He also got the Mavs off to a rousing start by scoring 11 of the team’s first 14 points, including going 3-for-3 from three-point range.

And for Brunson, that also included an early heat-check moment.

“I saw Donovan (Mitchell) back up a little bit and I kind of had a rhythm going into that (third three-point) shot and I just took my time and shot it,” he said. “I saw him back up a little bit and it gave me the go ahead to go ahead and shoot it, and it went in.”

Coach Jason Kidd likes the way Brunson started attacking the Jazz almost as soon as he left the locker room.

“He didn’t wait,” Kidd said. “He took up the space and was aggressive from the jump ball.

“We talked about it earlier. Don’t wait. Get to your spot and do what you do best. I thought he ran the team extremely well and he found the spots to score and he made plays.”

Overall, this was the most points for Brunson since he set an Illinois high school state playoff record with 56 points in the state semifinals as a junior while playing for Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill. A month earlier, Brunson set his high school’s single-game regular season scoring record when he poured in 57 points in a double-overtime game.

But it’s one thing to take control of a game on a high school level, and quite different to accomplish that feat in an NBA playoff game against some of the best players in the entire world.

Brunson, meanwhile, becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, and earlier this season Kidd revealed that one of his goals was to getJalen the four-year veteran paid. Asked how much money he thinks Brunson made following Monday’s earth-shattering performance, Kidd said “a lot.

“He’s going to make a lot of money. I don’t know if he needs an agent, but I’m going to put my name in the hat. But it’s not just what he did (Monday) and it’s not what he’s going to do going forward. He’s already done the work this season.”

Brunson’s eye-popping Game 2 performance was even more amazing considering Luka Doncic – the setup man for a lot of baskets by Brunson – missed the game while nursing a strained left calf. That gave the Jazz considerable more time to focus on Brunson.

But it mattered not, because Brunson was in one of those zones that every basketball player would like to enter on a nightly basis.

Guard Spencer Dinwiddie said: “In terms of playing with Luka and in terms of playing with JB, when they get on a heater you just kind of hope to get the right matchup on them, set the right screens and then let them hoop.”

Brunson acknowledged that his mindset isn’t to necessarily go into attack mode whenever Doncic is unable to play.

Jalen“I was just playing how the defense was kind of giving me,” he said. “Just seeing how they were defending certain things (and) just stepping in confidentially into certain shots.

“Yeah, the 5-for-5 start (from the field) is great, but I had the same mentality when I was 0-for-5 the last game or something like that. The mentality stays the same. You can’t fluctuate whenever (Doncic is) in or out.”

The Mavs are hoping for more of the same from Brunson when they meet the Jazz in Utah for Game 3 of this best-of-seven series Thursday at 8 p.m. As far as getting Brunson paid, Kidd said:

“He’s shown that he deserves to be paid. And he does his job at a very high level, and he’s a winner. He’s a great young man and I’m very lucky to be able to coach him.”

CHASING JAZZ OFF THE THREE-POINT LINE: The Utah Jazz absolutely love jacking up three-pointers. That’s their calling card.

The Jazz were second in the NBA this season behind Minnesota in three-pointers attempted (40.3) and made (14.5). But so far in this series, Utah was just 7-of-22 from three-point range in Game 1 and 11-of-29 from downtown in Game 2.

Also, while the Jazz were 27-of-53 from two-point territory in Game 2, the Mavs made a franchise playoff record 22 triples in 47 attemptsKidd Monday. And that’s a trade-off coach Jason Kidd will take any day of the week.

“Analytics will say if you’re shooting threes and the other team is shooting twos, you have a great chance of winning,” Kidd said. “That’s just mathematics.

“If we’re making threes and they’re making twos, we felt like we’re playing their game and we feel we have the advantage.”

It’s an advantage the Mavs believe would have had them up 2-0 in this series had they shot better from the free throw line in Game 1 and on shot attempts within point-blank distance of the rim.

“They’re a great team, they’re well coached,” Kidd said. “But if we can continue to attack the paint and make them play defense, we truly believe we’re going to get an open shot if we are patient. And (Monday) we got all the open shots we wanted and we made them.

Jalen“We held them under 30 (attempts on three-pointers). It’s hard to do, but it gives us an opportunity, we believe, to win.”

BRIEFLY: The Mavs lost the rebounding battle by 19 in Game 1, and they lost it again by 19 in Game 2. “They can win the rebounding war, but it’s about winning the game,” Kidd said after Game 2. “And that’s what we did.”. .Monday was the 18th time the Mavs won a game this season when trailing by 10 or more points. The Mavs and Phoenix Suns were the league co-leaders in that department during the regular season with 17 such games apiece. The Mavs fell behind Utah by 10 points early in the third quarter. “This is a team that never is going to quit,” Kidd said. “They’re going to play until the end. They believe that they can win. Again, in the fourth quarter no matter how much we’ve been outrebounded we find a way to come up with the rebounds late in the game and that’s what win games this time of the year.” Guard Jalen Brunson concurred with his coach’s assessment of what occurred Monday. “As a team we just kept fighting,” Brunson said. “We stuck together. Whenever they made runs we stayed calm and we just kept the focus.”. .Game 3 of the Mavs-Jazz series will be Thursday at 8 p.m. in Utah, and Game 4 is Saturday at 3:30 p.m., also in Utah. The series then shifts back to American Airlines Center for Game 5 Monday at 8:30 p.m.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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