Utah Jazz Open Up Big First Half Lead Over Dallas Mavericks
SALT LAKE CITY – Leading by 11 already, the Jazz needed 41 seconds to go on a 7-0 run, increasing their lead over the Mavericks to 55-39.
The Jazz (25-26) are hosting the Luka Dončić-less Dallas Mavericks (26-24) at Vivint Arena on Saturday, January 28.
now that was a 𝚆𝚊𝚕𝚔 of art 🎨 pic.twitter.com/pmmnWGDE5N
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 29, 2023
After a short jumper from Malik Beasley, Walker Kessler denied Dorian Finney-Smith with a blocked shot to get the Jazz in transition. Utah flew down the court and Kessler, trailing on the play, took a pass from Mike Conley for a dunk.
Finney-Smith turned the ball over on the Mavericks next possession with Jordan Clarkson taking advantage by knocking down a three on the other end.
Minutes later, Beasley closed the half with a deep three that cleared the net with just .2 second left
🐝 Threesley closing out the half 🐝#TakeNote | @mbeasy5 pic.twitter.com/WGava9rBea
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 29, 2023
Utah would go on to outscore Dallas 16-9 over the final 4:05 of the first half to take a 66-48 lead into halftime.
RELATED: Dončić Out, Olynyk Returns As Jazz Host Maverick
Lauri Markkanen and the Mavericks Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 15 first half points. The Jazz finished the first half shooting 25-of-42 (59.5 percent) from the field and 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from deep.
Mavericks Missing Main Man Dončić
Depending on who you ask, it could be a good thing or a bad thing that the Mavericks will be without the services of NBA MVP front-runner and second-leading scorer Luka Dončić when they meet on Saturday night.
Mavericks superstar Luka Dončić was named an All-Star starter on Thursday but left Dallas’s game against the Phoenix Suns with an ankle injury early in the first quarter. X-rays of the ankle were negative.
Doncic ruled out vs. Jazz on Saturday. https://t.co/DQuwpNnVJb
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 27, 2023
Dončić has been something of a one-man band in Dallas this season for a team coming off of a Western Conference Finals appearance last year. Just behind Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid at 33 points per game, the fifth-year player out of Slovenia is second in the league with 10 triple-doubles.
The Mavericks will also be without forward Christian Wood (thumb) who had 21 points and 10 rebounds in Dallas’s last meeting with the Jazz.
Walker Kessler, Ochai Agbaji Hit Rookie Wall In Week 14
As he has each of the first 13 weeks of the season, Walker Kessler remains the key talking point for the Jazz in youth development.
The standout center climbed to number three in the latest rookie rankings by the NBA and has established himself as the team’s starting center for the foreseeable future. At practice Friday, Will Hardy said Kessler was likely to stay in the starting lineup, despite the injured Kelly Olynyk nearing his return.
That alone has made this season a success in regard to youth development. With that said, Kessler has not had his strongest week as a Jazzman.
The league is beginning to take notice!@utahjazz center Walker Kessler is climbing in the latest NBA rookie rankings. #TakeNote https://t.co/zeGyA5AHHr
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) January 25, 2023
The center averaged 7.0 points and 6.7 rebounds over the last three games and blocked a total of two shots, one of his least productive stretches of the season.
The Jazz’s other key rookie, Ochai Agbaji, also had a down week, failing to create any meaningful statistical production in two of the last three games, bookending an eight point, four rebound performance in a blowout win over the Hornets.
RELATED: Agbaji Showing Promise As Jazz Season Develops
As the team enters the true dog days of the NBA season, it’s no surprise the first-year players would struggle with the seemingly endlessly long schedule leading up to the All-Star break. But with just one game over a six-day stretch, both should have ample rest to bounce back next week.
Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks Broadcast
The Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks is being televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.
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