GAME 6: DALLAS MAVERICKS (3-2) at UTAH JAZZ (2-3)
Time: 9 p.m., Thursday.
Place: Vivant Arena, Salt Lake City.
TV: Bally Sports Southwest, TNT.
Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: They can close out the best-of-seven series with a win. They have not advanced past the first round since 2011. This is the second year in a row they have been up 3-2 in the first round, but lost at home and then in Game 7 at the Clippers last season. This year, the venues are reversed as they will have Game 7 at American Airlines Center on Saturday, if it’s necessary . . . Their defense has been rock-solid in the series. Utah had the NBA’s most-efficient offense in the regular season but has averaged just 99.6 points per game against the Mavericks. The Mavericks limited Utah to 37.7 percent shooting overall and 10 percent (10-of-30) from 3-point range. And they continue to hold down the Jazz’s number of 3-pointers as they are averaging only 24 per game after heaving more than 40 per game in the regular season . . . Luka Dončić is coming off a 33-point, 13-rebound showing in Game 5 after getting his legs under him in Game 4. He missed the first three games with a left calf muscle strain . . . After getting hammered on the glass in the first two games, the Mavericks have gotten progressively better in the rebounding game and they won the boards 49-40 on Monday in Game 5 . . . Dwight Powell hit all four of his shots (three dunks, one layup) in the first quarter to set the tone for Game 5. Expect he and Luka to try to hook up on the lobs early and often . . . Spencer Dinwiddie has struggled from the field (32.4 percent for the series), but the Mavericks need him to remain aggressive and take his opportunities when they are there. He’s averaged 14.6 points and a team-best 4.8 assists through five games.
About the Jazz: Donovan Mitchell’s health now becomes the major issue for the Jazz. Tests showed no structural problem with his sore thigh, which technically is a bilateral quadriceps contusion. The sore thigh could have been an issue, but he told reporters Wednesday he was good to go and he officially is listed as probable. But even if he does play, will he be completely effective? The all-star guard was not an impact player in Game 5 with just nine points on 4-of-15 shooting. The Jazz were minus 38 when he was on the floor. You can be certain that Mitchell intends on atoning for that performance . . . Are the Jazz a different team on their home floor? When it comes to free throws, they are. They went to the line 33 and 42 times in their two home games in this series. They have shot 20, 21 and 23 free throws in the three games at AAC . . . The Jazz have lost three of the last four games in the series after winning the opener, which seems like a long time ago . . . It’s probably not this simple for the Jazz, but they are 2-0 when they hold the Mavericks under 100 points and 0-3 when they allow 100 or more . . . The Jazz are trying to avoid a first-round exit for the third time in four years. They made it to the second round last season but lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, who had to play part of that series without Kawhi Leonard . . . If the Jazz can force a seventh game, it will be on Saturday at American Airlines Center at a time yet to be determined.
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