Jazz Look For Key Game One Win Against Mavericks
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz will look to steal home-court advantage from the Dallas Mavericks in game one when the two teams kick off the NBA Playoffs on Saturday.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks are set to open the playoffs at home, but an injury to superstar guard Luka Doncic has provided the Jazz with a prime opportunity to win the opening game of the series.
For the first time in two seasons, the Jazz enter the playoffs healthy with their top nine rotation players cleared for game one.
Jazz Have Golden Opportunity In Game One
Over the last two seasons, the Jazz have seen just how difficult it is to win in the playoffs without key players in their rotation.
Last season, the Jazz dealt with injuries to both members of their All-Star backcourt as Donovan Mitchell missed game one against the Memphis Grizzlies with a badly rolled ankle, and Mike Conley missed most of the Los Angeles Clippers series with a strained hamstring.
The @utahjazz official injury repeat for tomorrow:
Jazz Injury Report (as of 4/15):
OUT – Udoka Azubuike (right ankle surgery)
OUT – Trent Forrest (left midfoot sprain)
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) April 15, 2022
The Jazz beat the Grizzlies in five games (their lone loss coming without Mitchell) and fell to the Clippers in six games without Conley.
Two seasons ago, the Jazz fell in the first round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets without starting forward Bojan Bogdanovic who underwent wrist surgery during the league’s covid-suspended season.
Only reserve guard Trent Forrest (foot sprain) and third-string center Udoka Azubuike (ankle surgery) are on the Jazz injury report ahead of Saturday’s game one.
Mavericks Will Miss Doncic
It’s difficult to overstate how important Doncic has been to the Mavericks this season.
The superstar guard leads all Dallas roster players in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal attempts, and usage.
Doncic has the NBA’s all-time best scoring average in the playoffs at 33.5 points per game, though he’s yet to lead the Mavericks to a first-round series win in two postseasons.
Luka Doncic is set to miss game one as the @dallasmavs host the @utahjazz tomorrow.
And, there's significant concern about his availability on Monday per ESPN.#TakeNote https://t.co/6qMhBR1bP2
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) April 15, 2022
Dallas is expected to rely heavily on the recently acquired Spencer Dinwiddie in Doncic’s absence. The veteran guard averaged 15.8 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 23 appearances since joining the Mavericks at the trade deadline.
The Mavericks are 18-5 since acquiring Dinwiddie but were just 8-9 when Doncic has missed games.
The Jazz and Mavericks are set to open the NBA Playoffs on Saturday at 11 am MT in Dallas at the American Airlines Center.
The game can be heard on KSL NewsRadio and The Zone Sports Network. The series opener will be televised on ESPN, AT&T SportsNet, and FuboTV.
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