Jazz Lack Focus In Loss To Mavericks

Feb 6, 2023, 10:17 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 10:36 am
Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton drives against the Dallas Mavericks...
Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton drives against the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz lost for the second time in as many games falling to the dramatically shorthanded Dallas Mavericks 124-111.

The Jazz blew a 12 point lead early in the second quarter and were never able to recover against a Mavericks team in the midst of significant turnover.

Dallas was without superstar Luka Doncic (heel) and the recently acquired Kyrie Irving, plus rotation regulars Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie who were shipped to Brooklyn in the Irving trade.

Josh Green scored a career-high 29 points while Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 26.

Unfocused Jazz Have Disappointing Outing

The Jazz have been outplayed in six of their last eight quarters dating back to Friday’s 115-108 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta outplayed the Jazz through the first three quarters on Friday, while Dallas outplayed the Jazz over the final three periods of the game.

The Jazz have been outscored by 38 in the six-quarter stretch, and have failed to shoot the ball well collectively over the last two games.

“This is the first game all season where I’ve just felt disappointed in our focus” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “There’s always nights where the bounces don’t go your way, you don’t make shots, the other team plays great and there was a little bit of that in tonight’s game, but I felt like collectively we just did not have the necessary focus and attention to the little things.”

The Jazz are just 19-75 from the three-point line over their last eight quarters, but their woes extended beyond their shooting.

Dallas outrebounded the Jazz 32-27, including a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass. The Mavericks doubled up the Jazz in second-chance points, winning the battle 24-12, and crushed the Jazz in fast break points 27-4.

“Give them credit, obviously with the stuff that they’ve been through the last couple of days,” Lauri Markkanen said. “Coming out here, they played better than us, they played harder than us.”

Reports of the Irving trade surfaced Sunday morning, but the trade wasn’t made official until shortly before tipoff.

“They’re still all good NBA players and you’ve got to respect that,” Markkanen said.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said Irving is expected to join the team tomorrow and will play Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers while Doncic’s return remains uncertain.

How Well Can Sexton Shoot?

Due to his limited three-point attempts, it may surprise some fans to learn that Collin Sexton is shooting a lights-out 55 percent from downtown in January.

Sexton has missed five games since the beginning of the new year to due a lingering hamstring injury, but in his nine appearances, he’s knocked down 11 of his 20 triples.

With that type of shooting, does the guard need to be attempting more than 2.2 threes per game?

“The reason that he shoots well from three is, one, he’s a good shooter and, two, he shoots good ones,” Hardy said. “I think if we tried to turn Collin into a player that’s launching a bunch of threes, we may take away some of his other strengths.”

Sexton is one of the Jazz’s best players attacking the rim with the ball in his hands and is used within the team’s offense to create space for others as a screen setter.

“That’s how coach wants me,” Sexton said, “he wants me to be a good screener so I try to get my teammates open whenever I can.”

In addition to using Sexton as a screener, Hardy said he doesn’t want to rob the former lottery pick of his natural identity just to attempt more threes.

“Part of our job also is to look at what people do well and try to accentuate those things and not necessarily make them all conform to what we want,” Hardy said of the Jazz coaching staff. “I just think in some ways we can be a little lazy about how people play and just say, ‘Oh, threes are good, just fire a bunch of those.'”

Unfortunately for the Jazz, the team could have used Sexton’s hot shooting in the loss to the Mavericks.

The guard scored 10 points on 2-3 shooting and added six made free throws but failed to attempt a three in 25 minutes.

The Jazz six made threes were their fewest makes in a game since December 19, 2019, in a 111-106 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves will tip off at 7 pm MT in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. The game will be 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.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Jazz Lack Focus In Loss To Mavericks