Jazz Prepare To Face Mavericks To Open Playoffs

Apr 10, 2022, 11:14 PM
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley defends Luka Doncic (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley defends Luka Doncic (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Immediately following their final regular-season win over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Utah Jazz turned their attention to the Dallas Mavericks who they will face in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Jazz wrapped up the regular season with a 49-33 record, fifth-best in the West setting them up for a matchup with the fourth-seeded Mavericks.

Seeds 3-6 in the West weren’t determined until the final night of the regular season but solidified with the Golden State Warriors win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Mavericks’ win over the San Antonio Spurs, the Jazz win over Portland, and the Denver Nuggets loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The top ten seeds in the West finished as follows:

Western Conference Standings:

  1. Phoenix Suns – 64-18
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – 56-26
  3. Golden State Warriors – 53-29
  4. Dallas Mavericks – 52-30
  5. Utah Jazz – 49-33
  6. Denver Nuggets – 48-34
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves – 56-36
  8. Los Angeles Clippers – 42-40
  9. New Orleans Pelicans – 36-46
  10. San Antonio Spurs – 34-48

The Jazz and Mavericks are one of only two first-round matchups decided ahead after the final night of the regular season with the Nuggets will travel to Golden State to face the Warriors in a matchup of the third and sixth seeds in the West.

The Timberwolves and Clippers will match up in the first play-in tournament game with the winner earning the right to face the second-seeded Grizzlies in the opening round.

The loser of that game will face the winner of the play-in game between the Pelicans and Spurs. The winner of that game will take on the top-seeded Suns in the opening round.

Jazz Turn Attention To Mavericks

As the Jazz turn their focus to the Mavericks, all eyes will be on the health of Luka Doncic who suffered a strained calf in Dallas’s regular season finale against the Spurs.

The Mavericks provided little information on Doncic’s strain, though ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated Dallas believes the superstar guard avoided a major injury.

“There’s initial optimism that Dallas star Luka Doncic hasn’t suffered a significant injury, source tells ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted. “Team is calling it a strained left calf.”

The Jazz saw two players suffer calf strains during the season as Rudy Gobert missed nine games in late January and early February with the injury. Bojan Bogdanovic suffered a similar injury and also missed nine games in March.

“Luka is unique,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s the kind of player that is capable of putting the team on his back.”

The teams split their four-game season series two games apiece with the Jazz and Mavericks protecting their home court in each matchup.

The Jazz beat the Mavericks on Christmas Day, though Dallas was playing without Doncic in Utah. In their second meeting, the Jazz knocked off a healthier Mavericks roster 114-109 in their first game back from the All-Star break.

“They’re a very good defensive team,” Gobert said after the game. “Offensively obviously they play a pretty unique style of basketball with Luka.”

The two teams faced off twice in March with the Mavericks winning both games in Dallas.

On March 7 the Jazz were healthy but were playing on the second night of back-to-back games and their third game in four nights.

In their final meeting, the Jazz were without Gobert, Bogdanovic, and Danuel House Jr.

“For us to go into the playoff series knowing that we have most of our guys healthy, especially the guys who have been in rotation consistently, it’s a massive win for us,” Mike Conley said after the Jazz season finale.

Trent Forrest is the lone Jazz rotation regular who is dealing with a significant injury to close the season. Forrest suffered a foot strain against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 6 and will be evaluated weekly throughout the postseason.

The team converted Forrest’s two-way contract to a traditional deal before their final regular season game to make him eligible for the playoffs.

The Jazz and Mavericks will open the playoffs on Saturday in Dallas at 11 am MT. The game will be televised on ESPN, AT&T Sports Network, and FuboTV, and can be heard on KSL NewsRadio and The Zone Sports Network.

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