Game No. 18.
Mavericks at Utah Jazz
(8 p.m. Wednesday, Vivant Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City)
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM (Univision 1270 AM, Spanish)
About the Mavericks (8-9): Finally, the reinforcements are on the way. Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Dwight Powell all are listed as questionable for this game, which is a major upgrade over the last 20 days, when they’ve been out because of COVID-19 protocols. Maxi Kleber continues to be listed as out for the same reason. Finney-Smith told media members on Tuesday that he’s ready to get back in the fray, whether it’s 15 minutes or 30 . . . The Mavericks lost twice at home to drop below .500, but showed life in the second half Monday against Denver, when they held the Nuggets to 47 points after giving up 70 in the first half . . . Luka Dončić has six triple-doubles this season, including 35 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds Monday against the Nuggets. But the Mavericks have had to lean on him perhaps too much with so many players out. It’ll be interesting to see the Mavericks now that they are closer to full strength . . . This is the first of a two-game series against the Jazz in Utah. NBA teams in the past never played the same team back-to-back in the same city, but this is a different year. The league is hoping to minimize some of the travel issues in this COVID-19-marred season . . . Bovada has installed the Mavericks as four-point underdogs.
About the Jazz (13-4): This might not be the best time to be catching the Jazz. They have won nine consecutive games after Tuesday’s 108-94 victory over the New York Knicks. All but one of their wins in the streak have been by double figures. Their average margin of victory in those games: 15.7 points. Against the Knicks, the Jazz won the second half 62-35 . . . They are in the midst of an unusual schedule. Tonight’s game will be the second of back-to-back home games. Then they host the Mavericks again on Friday . . . During their winning streak, the Jazz have done it with defense. They have outrebounded their opponents by an average of more than eight boards per game and they have limited foes to under 43 percent shooting . . . They also are the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league at 40 percent, although they did not shoot it well Tuesday against New York . . . In that game, the Jazz were down by 15 points in the first half before rallying for the runaway win . . . Rudy Gobert has been awesome all season, averaging better than 12 points and 13 rebounds per game. He had 18 points and 19 rebounds against the Knicks . . . Another factor in Utah’s favor? They have been relatively healthy all season. They have had the same starting lineup in all 17 games (Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neal, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley) . . . Mitchell has averaged better than 24 points per game and is hitting 40 percent from 3-point range on nearly nine tries per game.
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