SALT LAKE CITY – The Mavericks said goodbye to the preseason Friday night at Vivant Arena and for a while, it looked like they weren’t wasting any silver bullets on a meaningless game.

The 3-point shooting was forgettable for three quarters. It perked up in the fourth behind Tim Hardaway and a group of reserves, which was enough to salvage a 115-101 victory over the Utah Jazz, finishing their preseason at 2-1.

And, while the Mavericks didn’t look smooth much of the night, they did get a great look at their preferred rotation that will open the regular season Wednesday at Phoenix.

It started with Luka Dončić, who had 24 points in 30 minutes before calling it a night after three quarters with the Mavericks ahead 82-79.

He was joined in the lineup by Spencer Dinwiddie, JaVale McGee, Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith, as expected.

The second unit was a bit surprising in that it did not include veteran Dwight Powell, the longest-tenured Maverick at eight seasons.

The three heavy lifters off the bench were Hardaway, Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood, with Josh Green and Frank Ntilikina also seeing spot action.

That appears to be the way the Mavericks will go to work when the regular season opens.

“We got to see some different combinations, a lot of good stuff,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We talked at halftime that we got to do a better job of protecting the paint and the rim. In the second half, we started to play the way we’re capable. We said if we’re going to shoot 50 threes a game, we’re going to have to make some. You can’t just be a jump shooting team like that. If you don’t make any, you’re going to find yourself on the other side of the (win-loss) column.”

In addition to Dončić, Christian Wood had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points and was one of the few Mavericks who lit it up from the perimeter, hitting four of five 3-pointers.

“I thought Timmy did a great job,” Kidd said. “There was a group out there that went on a 17-4 run. We had great looks in the first half, wide-open looks that we just missed. If Luka and Spencer are going to create those open shots then we got to knock them down.”

Another problem area for the Mavericks was a familiar one: rebounding.

They were hammered 52-36 on the boards.

“We weren’t a good rebounding team last year,” Kidd said. “We got to do better. Everyone in that room knows that. We’re getting teams to miss. We just got to finish the play.”

Even with the major rebounding disparity, the starters earned an 82-79 lead going into the fourth, but the Mavericks had shot just 10-for-36 to that point (28 percent).

The reserves took over and pushed the lead to double figures early in the fourth quarter. They hit 7-of-11 3-pointers in the final frame to make the final shooting stats look good.

The Mavericks made just 6-of-24 3-pointers in the first half and still were up by a point. But this was hardly a showing by a well-oiled machine.

What was most important was that players began to get used to their roles. That in itself made the preseason finale a success.

One last look: The Mavericks kept diminutive guard McKinley Wright IV when they made their set of cuts on Wednesday.

Though he would struggle to reach the 6-foot listing he has on the roster list, Wright has played big throughout camp and that’s why he’s still with the team.

Kidd said before the game that Wright would get an extended run against the Jazz.

It came in the fourth quarter, when the Colorado product who played five games last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, entered midway through the fourth.

“We’ll talk about that on Sunday and see what happens,” Kidd said. “I thought he played well tonight and set the table and ran the show.”

Different year, different team: The Jazz are the definition of a team that went through epic changes over the offseason.

For the past three seasons, they have fancied themselves as title contenders. But that era ended with the trades of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell this summer.

The Jazz are in a full rebuilding project as they tried to load up on young players and draft picks with the trading of their two all-stars.

Ownership has put the rebuild in the hands of veteran executives Justin Zanik and Danny Ainge.

Kidd said it’s something that most teams go through at some point in their existence, especially teams that get to the brink of great success but end up with battle scars.

“Some teams can move forward and learn from their mistakes and the ball bounces their way,” Kidd said. “You talk about winning a championship, there’s some luck involved. Being part of some of those scars, you just hope that everyone continues to have that hunger to achieve that one goal and that’s to win a championship.

“And sometimes, on the other end, business gets in the way, changes happen and so, there might be a reboot. Sometimes you are never able to achieve that goal. (But) Danny’s one of the best at putting a team together, so they’re in good hands.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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