If there is any one place that doesn’t and I mean doesn’t like the Dallas Mavericks, especially their number one star, Dirk Nowitzki, it’s in Utah; and lo and behold Dallas narrowly escaped playing the Jazz with a win, but it wasn’t a pretty win.
During the first part of this game, it was a back and forth situation, runs here and runs there and Dallas barely got the edge in the first with a 25-22 lead, but they came alive in the 2nd overpowering the youth of the Jazz and took a 59-50 lead into halftime.
Why is it sometimes though that teams forget how to play in the locker room at half? You have your team going, you get the jump on your opponent, you have a nice lead and then boom, the bottom falls out. The Mavericks forgot how to play and let the young whipper snapper Jazz team put the whoop on them and get back into this game.
Well into the third is when some of the best excitement of the game happened. Utah had a 71-70 lead, Dallas is showing their frustration about the plays that they are not executing; well they should since they only scored 12 points to Utah’s 21 in the third, but Dirk was upset about a play and not having a call go his way, Alec Burks had the ball in his hands on the dead ball whistle, Dirk slapped the ball out of his hands to get it to the referee and that’s when it all started.
Ok, Dirk slaps the ball, gets the ball, heads to the sideline to get it to the referee for a throw-in, Earl Watson comes over and gets all up in Dirks face, tries to take the ball, which by the way ain’t happening, ref tries to step in and separate the two and so does Jason Kidd. Granted, Dirk should not have slapped the ball because he should have been whistled for a tech, but he wasn’t and it upset the Jazz team and fans alike.
Watson was just looking out for his team, his young players and standing up for them which did help get them riled up and set to play better. His message, “don’t let anyone, even the NBA Finals MVP, get the best of you”, and it worked for a while. But then the rest of the story, Utah had a 71-70 lead with 24.8 seconds left in the third, when Favors, again, got whistled for a foul, didn’t like the call, so he hurled the ball out-of-bounds, but the thing of it was, it was toward the Dallas Mavericks bench. Not a smart move at all; not only did he get called for a tech, but he also got ejected from the game which sent Dirk to the free throw line for a shot to tie the game. Now even though Dirk has missed a few of them this year, he is still gold when it comes to free throws and he connected on this one which gave Dallas a tie as time expired for the third quarter.
Both teams went long stretches without scoring or scoring much, but Dallas had a 73-72 lead when C J Miles snuck in for a steal off of Dirk and took it down for an easy basket and gave the Jazz a 75-72 lead. Then another silly mistake, with 2:47 left, Dallas had a 87-85 lead when Kidd went for a pass when Gordon Hayward was able to get one of his four steals for the night, take it down for an easy basket and tie the game at 87.
Dallas got the ball on the next ensuing play and got it into JET’s hands and he was able to knock down a three to give Dallas the lead again 90-87, then Kidd got the ball and was able to take it to the basket and get another bucket and extend Dallas’ lead 92-87. After that it was a back and forth thing with Dallas finally ending the night with a 94-91 win and escaping the wrath of the Jazz.
Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 22 points with Dirk adding 12 and Kidd having 11 assists. Roddy B and Lamar Odom led the bench in scoring with 17 and 11 points respectively.
The Jazz were led by Al Jefferson with 22 points and Miles added 17, with Alec Burks adding 10 of his own. Paul Millsap who looked as if he was going to be able to waltz up and down the court with great ease, scored 16 points to go with his 13 rebounds.
Dallas shot the ball well with shooting 52.1% from the field to Utah’s 38.8, both teams hit only 25% from the 3. Utah did better from the free throw line with connecting on 89.7% to Dallas’ 78.9 and had 44 rebounds to 33 for Dallas; turnovers are still a stickler in Rick Carlisle’s side with Dallas committing 16 to 13 for the Jazz. The only thing is, some of the turnovers were silly mistakes that you would think as professionals who have been playing this game for a while would not make, but since we are all human, mistakes are a part of the game.
Even though legendary coach, Jerry Sloan is no longer in Utah, Tyrone Corbin has tried to keep the attitude of the team and fans on going and he has done a good job. Utah has been doing a good job this season and was 9-5 coming into tonight’s game, which is an improvement over last season. What I noticed the most is the two ex-Dallas players either didn’t play well or didn’t play at all. Devin Harris who came to Utah on the trade with Deron Williams, has been having a dismal season and even a more dismal night and Josh Howard missed another game due to a strained quad.
The improvement of the night was from Odom, who started the game hitting 3 of his first 3 shots and helped him get into some sort of rhythm of play and maybe, just maybe will help him settle in to play. The one thing I want to see the Mavs work on is continuity, flow of the game and attitude. Again Dirk was hit with a tech for his shall we say attitude toward the ref, or in this case the ball. When you slam the ball to the court, it is lack of respect for the game and you will get whistled on it no matter who you are, MVP or not.
Now, the Mavs head off to New Orleans and hopefully get another win; and ending the road trip with 2-2 record, will help Dallas’ attitude as a whole. So let’s see what happens.
With that I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs.