Jazz End Road Trip With Loss To Mavericks

Mar 7, 2022, 10:03 PM
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert waives off Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic after a flop (Photo by T...
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert waives off Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic after a flop (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz put up a tough fight on the road in Dallas but ultimately fell to the Mavericks 111-103.

The Jazz battled back from down 20, trimming their deficit to just six in the final minutes of the game but didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to overcome the hole they’d dug earlier in the game.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points to lead the Jazz in scoring for the second straight night while Luka Doncic added 33 to lead the Mavericks.

Jazz Fight Hard, Running On Empty

On the second night of a back to back, and the fifth game of a five-game road trip, it was clear the Jazz ran out of gas in the second half against the Mavericks.

But that isn’t to say they didn’t play hard.

Despite trailing by 20 in the third quarter, the Jazz battled back and trimmed their deficit to as little as six late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get enough shots to fall late in the game.

“I don’t think we’ve played as well as we can,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve had some good games, and played some good stretches, but we haven’t hit a stride yet.”

The Jazz struggled to shoot from the perimeter in the third quarter, knocking down just 2-8 threes, then abandoned the deep ball in favor of shots at the rim that couldn’t find the bottom of the net.

Ultimately their 19 points in the third proved to be too few to truly give the Jazz a chance to win.

The Jazz return to Utah having won three of their five games on the road after the All-Star break with games against the Portland Trail Blazers, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Sacramento Kings before the schedule gets considerably tougher.

The Mavericks will host the Jazz again in Dallas on March 27 in what could prove to be the biggest game of the season as the two teams continue to battle for home-court advantage if they were to meet in the first round of the playoffs.

“I think this kind of felt like [the playoffs],” Donovan Mitchell said. “We go up 2-0 in a sense, and then they come back, come in and counter and take care of home court. Now, it’s how do we respond on the 27th?”

Not A Bad Performance, All Considering

Though the Jazz found themselves trailing by 20 in the third quarter, the game could have looked a lot worse than it did late in the fourth quarter.

Doncic had 16 points in the first quarter and looked largely unstoppable, but the Jazz withstood his hot shooting managed to make a game out of it.

Mitchell and Mike Conley had arguably their worst combined performances of the season, shooting just 6-26 from the floor for 20 points, and yet Mitchell had a chance to cut the deficit to just four in the final minutes of the game but missed two late free-throws that cost the team the opportunity.

The Mavericks were also playing at a rest advantage, having had Sunday night off at home while the Jazz were playing in Oklahoma City before a late-night flight to Dallas that landed early Monday morning.

All considering, the Jazz had more reasons for the game to end in a blowout than they did to make it close, and they still forced Dallas to play their starters late into the fourth quarter.

There are no moral victories for the Jazz at this point in their trajectory, but Monday’s loss to Dallas was far from demoralizing.

Conley Continues To Struggle

As mentioned, the loss to Dallas might have featured the worst combined performances from Mitchell and Conley, though Conley has had a string of tough outings over the last few weeks.

Heading into the matchup with the Mavericks the All-Star guard was averaging just 8.7 points while shooting 30 percent from the floor and 25 percent from the three-point line over his previous seven games.

During the stretch, Conley had shooting performances of 3-10, 2-9, and two 1-8 outings.

The guard had Sunday night’s game in Oklahoma City off to prepare for Dallas, and still, his struggles continued. Conley shot just 1-7 against the Mavericks, dropping his percentages to 28 percent from the floor and 23 percent from the three-point line.

“I would like to get easy looks, easy shots — everybody would, especially when you haven’t seen a few go in,” Conley said of his slump. “I’m just going to keep, like I said, playing my game.”

The Jazz have been able to survive Conley’s recent collapse, having gone 5-3 in their last eight games that he’s been on the floor. But as the schedule grows more difficult in the coming weeks, they’ll need him to round back into form.

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