SALT LAKE CITY – On Monday, we were all reminded that this is why they play the games.

With a patchwork lineup that would rival any of those quilts your grandma used to put together, the Mavericks pulled off a remarkable 124-111 victory over the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena.

They had no Luka Dončić. They didn’t have Kyrie Irving or Markieff Morris yet. Maxi Kleber and Davis Bertans were out.

But the 12 players who suited up all played and all contributed.

And they had a little extra motivation, too.

While Dwight Powell was putting up a career rebounding night with 16 boards (along with 12 points), rookie Jaden Hardy was throwing in 29 points, which matched Josh Green for tops in the game.

Hardy said the Mavericks took offense to the way the Jazz appeared to approach the game.

“We felt like that when they came out with like 12 minutes on the clock to warm up, we felt like they’re not taking us seriously,” Hardy said. “Nonchalant. Once we saw that, everybody locked in on winning.”

And while the Mavericks fell behind by 15 points early, they always were engaged in this game, mostly with a strong-willed team effort. They took it upon themselves not to let their lack of key players doom them.

Whether it was a lax attitude by the Jazz or the Mavericks being angry about the way they played Saturday in a loss at Golden State that lacked enthusiasm for the first three quarters, they got the job done.

“It can be from anything, but it’s important for us to go into every game with a personal vendetta against everybody,” Green said. “Luka and all those guys, they’re going to have their amazing nights. But if we want to be a championship team, it’s about the rest of us being able to step up.

“Yeah, they came in at 11, 12 minutes, but they can do whatever they want to do. We were out there and ready to go from the jump. Take us easy, whatever. We’ll be ready to go every game.”

The Mavericks were down 98-97 before three pointers by Green and Hardy started a 15-3 surge that made it 112-101 with under three minutes left. That was pretty much the game as the Mavericks improved to 29-26 and 1-1 on this five-game trip. The Jazz slipped to 27-28.

“Shorthanded across the board, that group believed they could compete,” coach Jason Kidd said. “They got down early, but you look at Hardy and what Josh did tonight, two of our younger players. And (McKinley) Wright set the tone for us early. It’s not easy to win in this building.”

Green had a terrific overall night, Not only were his points a career-best, but so was his plus-39 in the plus-minus department. It was a big change from his first start on the trip Saturday.

“Plus 39. Last game I was negative-20,” Green said. “I think the team took it personal as a unit. A lot of people doubted us to be able to win this game. And we know we have a strong team, one-to-15. We trusted each other and I think that showed tonight.”

Said Kidd of Green: “He was a little motivated from the last game he had at Golden State. Being a starter comes with responsibility. And I thought he answered the call. We believe he can be a starter at some point. He understands how to play the game. And he’s not afraid of the moment.”

It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks’ lineup develops once Irving gets assimilated and other players return to health. Green has looked the part of a starter at times this season.

“You got to look at him having to defend the top offensive wing or guard on the floor,” Kidd said. “We just need him to be himself on the defensive end.

As for determining whether Green has a starting job in his future for the rest of this season , Kidd said that’s a topic for another day.

“We’ll see how this thing looks as we get healthy,” he said. “After the break, we’ll have 22 games, so we’ll have to get some answers to the test pretty quickly. We can look at staring him in some situations. And then we’ll look at starting big in some situations. Our health is the biggest key for us as we get into the break.”

Later this month, the NBA’s All-Star Game will take place at Vivant Arena, which means the Mavericks will have 20 percent of the starting lineups when that event takes place with their one-name wonders, Luka and Kyrie.

On Monday night, though, the only star on the scene was Lauri Markkanen, who looked the part only on occasion, but did get the Jazz going early in the fourth quarter.

It was Markkanen, who was voted as an All-Star reserve for the first time in his career, who stole a pass and converted a layup to get the Jazz started on a 9-3 blitz to start the final quarter and go up 94-92. But the Mavericks had an edge to them.

They also had Christian Wood back in action after he had missed eight games. He had nine rebounds, six points and four assists in 19 minutes.

And perhaps best of all for the Mavericks, they knew they had help on the way soon, even if they didn’t need it on Monday.

Twitter: @ESefko

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