Final: Jazz 121, Mavs 119
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs scored 87 points through the first three quarters, the team’s highest point total after three since scoring 87 against Golden State on Dec. 30. Dallas is now 5-1 this season when scoring at least 87 points through the first three frames.
Dallas played a very patient, probing style of offense in the first half, generating 1.23 points per possession on 45 possessions. When the club took four seconds or more to get the ball across halfcourt, the Mavs scored a ridiculous 1.73 points per possession in the first two quarters. That’s averaging almost a bucket every single time down. The Mavs were able to work the shot clock and create good looks, using patience, creativity, and ball movement to find the open man.
The Mavs went the entire first quarter without hitting a 2-point shot. That isn’t saying much, though, considering the club only attempted two of them. Dallas still managed to score 29 points, though, as the club was 6 of 12 from the three-point line and 11 of 11 from the free throw line. In 1997 the Mavericks played an entire quarter without knocking down a single field goal, but in tonight’s first quarter the Mavs did hit six shots. Against a shot-blocking team like Utah, it’s almost better to collapse the defense with drives to the rim and then kick it out to a shooter. Dallas generated plenty of good looks, and that was reflected in the box score.
The Mavs are now 6-2 this season in overtime games.
Given the level at which Utah has been playing defense these last few weeks, the Mavericks offense did a terrific job in this game. The Jazz had won seven of their last eight games heading into tonight’s contest, and during that one no team scored more than 96 points, and only three scored at least 90. During that time, Utah had been allowing just 93.4 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com, the best mark in the league. Dallas started hot and continued to shoot it well, becoming the first team to break the century mark against the Jazz since New York did so on Jan. 20. Utah is now 2-18 this season when its opponent scores at least 100 points.
Chandler Parsons had another good game, this time seeming to create off the dribble more often than he has in recent games. Parsons was guarded by Gordon Hayward, another highly regarded Western Conference small forward, and in this game the Mavs wing certainly had the upper hand. Parsons showed what makes him such a dynamic player, as he has the ability to spot up and shoot but also to create for himself off the dribble. Twice he dribbled into the lane, late in the shot clock, and spun into sweet fadeaways that fell through the net. If he can continue developing his mid-range game, particularly off the bounce, he has the chance to become one of the most difficult players to cover in the league.
It might ultimately go down as an unheralded play in a game full of more significant highlights, but in the third quarter Wesley Matthews had a silky-smooth drive to the basket which began with a nice dribble move and ended up with the 2-guard absorbing contact from the much larger Rudy Gobert and finishing the layup. Matthews has improved his 2-point percentage as the season has worn on and is now beginning to display much more quickness and explosiveness off the dribble, attacking the basket with much more regularity. We’ve talked about Parsons’ recovery efforts all season long, but Matthews has been battling the same process himself, and now it appears like he’s taking yet another step forward. Now that his rim-attack game is shining, he’s becoming an even more dynamic offensive player.
If there’s one guy the Mavs should clearly trust in crunch time, it’s Deron Williams. As brilliant as Dirk Nowtizki has been in those moments this season, Williams has consistently been one of the team’s best offensive players late in games this season, and tonight he scored 10 minutes in crunch time in regulation to propel the Mavs offense to a strong close, although the game did go into overtime. He’s been a revelation this season when it comes to closing games for the Mavericks.
Parsons made a terrific block on a driving Rodney Hood late in overtime. It was initially ruled goaltending, though an officials review overturned the call and ruled it a clean block. Because no one had assumed possession after the block, it was a jump ball at midcourt. Nowitzki came away with the ball although Gobert technically “won” the tip, and Dallas earned possession. Big sequence following a big play by Parsons, who was spectacular in this game.
The Mavs (29-26) play the Orlando Magic (23-28) next Friday, Feb. 19, at the Amway Center. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Central.