LAS VEGAS – Not only did the Dallas Mavericks drop a gut-wrenching 81-80 game in double-overtime to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night at the Cox Pavilion.
They also lost two starters in the process.
The loss in the MGM Resorts Summer League dropped the Mavs to 0-2 going into Saturday’s 2 p.m. CDT game against the Denver Nuggets. It was indeed a wild, wild finish and a heartbreaking loss for the Mavs.
Because, by summer league rules the first team that scores in the second overtime wins the game, the Jazz won the jump ball, Trent Forrest got fouled on the first possession and then buried the second of two free throws to win the game.
“I coached in college at St. John’s University from 2015-19 and we had a few pretty crazy games in the Big East,” Mavs summer league coach Greg St. Jean said. “But I will tell you this – that was a heckuva basketball game.
“Pretty fun to be a part of. As a competitor you want to come out on top, but that was a lot of fun.’’
The Mavs appeared to have the game well in hand after a jumper by Nate Hinton moved the Mavs up, 80-76, with 43 seconds left in overtime. But Utah’s Elijah Hughes was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer, and he hit a pair of free throws before missing the third one.
Udoka Azubuike grabbed the offensive board and dunked it with 21.7 seconds left to tie the game at 80 and send it into overtime.
“Crazy bounce off the free throw and they ended up getting the loose ball,” St. Jean said. “We weren’t able to keep bodies on body.
“Maybe Monday morning quarterback, maybe we could have made a couple of substitutions. But overall our guys fought and had done a pretty good job on the glass keeping a bigger more physical team off the glass for the most part, and that ended up being just a tough bounce. But I thought our guys competed.”
In addition to the first overtime, the Mavs also let the game get away in the final frantic seconds of regulation play. Two free throws and a put-back basket from Eugene Omoruyi gave Dallas a 75-72 lead with 7.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
But the Jazz tied the game at 75-75 on a 3-pointer by Malachi Richardson with just 3.3 seconds to go – and off to overtime these two teams went.
“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your back,” forward Eugene Omoruyi said. “It’s a learning point and we just got to learn from that and bounce back, just like we always do.
“I’ve had some crazy endings. I had one in Iowa. This one probably ranks third in my book.”
The Mavs lost starting center Tariq Owens to game-ending left knee injury in the first quarter, and starting point guard Tyrell Terry to a left groin strain in the third quarter. Those critical losses really tested the Mavs’ depth.
“Obviously, Tyrell is a big piece of our offensive focus, and defensively he’s somebody we’re trying to have continue to work on that end of the floor,” St. Jean said. “But I thought guys stepped up.
“We had 11 guys dressed and we only had nine available in most of that second half. Everybody who went in there did a phenomenal job and everybody on the bench contributed as well.”
One player who contributed mightily off the bench was Robert Franks, who came off the bench to pour in a game-high 17 points in 29 minutes. Franks made all five of his three-pointers in the second half and first overtime session.
“I think that’s my game,” Franks said. “I’m a shooter. I live for those type of moments – to shoot the basketball.
“So that’s just repetition in practice.”
Besides Frank, the Mavs got 16 points and eight rebounds from Omoruyi, 10 points from Terry, 14 rebounds from LJ Figueroa, and nine points, six rebounds and six assists from Nate Hinton.
Although the final outcome wasn’t what the Mavs wanted, they fared much better than they did in Monday’s 95-73 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“This is summer league, but at the end of the day I couldn’t be more proud of the group,” St. Jean said. “I thought that their level of care, attention to detail and the things that we worked on in practice yesterday (was good). I challenged them to take care of the ball more.
“We had 23 turnovers in the first game (against the Sixers) and we had 10 turnovers today. I challenged our transition defense. They had 22 fast break points in game one and two fast break points today. So just from an emphasis standpoint and a mentality standpoint I couldn’t be more proud, and our guys stepped up to the challenge. So as a coach I’m extremely proud, win or lose.”
Share and comment