Jazz Fall To Mavericks, Drop To 13th In West
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz dropped in the Western Conference Standings after falling to the Dallas Mavericks 120-116 on Tuesday night.
Without Collin Sexton, Walker Kessler, and Jordan Clarkson the Jazz were down three starters in Dallas but kept the game close due to a strong 33 point outing from Lauri Markkanen.
Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic combined for 62 points as the Mavericks climbed into the fifth seed in the West with the win.
Jazz Drop In West Standings
After falling to Dallas the Jazz find themselves in 13th place in the Western Conference.
It’s the first time this season the Jazz have fallen that far in the standings, with their previous low coming on January 8 when the team dropped to 12th.
The loss, teamed with wins by the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers dropped the Jazz from ninth in the West when the day started to 13th, breaking a five-team tie.
Following the loss, the Jazz slipped behind the Thunder, the Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the New Orleans Pelicans in the conference.
The Jazz also dropped behind the idle Washington Wizards in the East who sat at 31-34 entering Tuesday night, falling to the eighth-worst record in the NBA overall.
If those standings were to hold throughout the rest of the season, the Jazz would enter the lottery with a 26.2 percent chance of earning a top-four draft pick in June.
With the loss, the Jazz are now projected by FiveThirtyEight to finish the season with a record of 37-45, tied with the Thunder and the Chicago Bulls for seventh-worst in the NBA.
Dunn And Jones Add Solid Depth
Due to injuries in the Jazz starting lineup, both Kris Dunn and Damian Jones got extended minutes against the Mavericks, and neither player wasted the opportunity.
Dunn extended his six-game streak of double-digit scoring with the Jazz finishing with 11 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 24 minutes off the bench.
He also provided strong defense against both Doncic and Irving, finishing the game as the only Jazz reserve with a positive plus-minus.
This is a great steal!
Perfect timing, knows Luka doesn't know where he is, and just takes it away from him. pic.twitter.com/Q5yXec4Ucp
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) March 8, 2023
Jones meanwhile scored seven points and recorded six rebounds in 24 minutes, flashing his upper-echelon athleticism and strong motor.
“Damian is very active,” Will Hardy said of the Jazz backup center. “He gives us a different look defensively, he gives us some real switchability.”
At several points throughout the game, Jones showed an ability to switch onto the smaller Doncic and bother the superstar guard with his quick feet and length.
The newest Jazz big man also stepped out and flashed his range by knocking down a corner three late in the third quarter.
“I watch him shoot all the time at practice and he makes a bunch of them so he’s got confidence in it and it’s something that he’s worked on,” Hardy said. “I was happy for him tonight.”
Dunn’s 10-day contract is set to expire early next week, and if the Jazz want to keep him, they’ll have to sign him through the end of the season.
The team could also choose to offer Dunn a multi-year deal, hoping to keep the guard off the free-agent market this summer.
Kris Dunn with the highlight euro step! 🤩#TakeNote https://t.co/o77HRAgScD
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) March 8, 2023
With a long history of injuries and lukewarm interest around the league before signing with the Jazz, the two sides might be motivated to strike a multi-year deal that brings the veteran guard back to Utah next season.
While Dunn’s future is uncertain, Jones can choose to stay with the Jazz next season or test the open market this summer.
The veteran center has a one-year, $2.6 million player option to return to Utah, or could opt out of his deal hoping to find a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
After barely seeing the floor with the Lakers to open the season, Jones may prefer to pick up his player option with the Jazz, opting for the safety of a guaranteed deal over the uncertainty of free agency.
Walker Kessler will have a stranglehold as the starting center in Utah for the foreseeable future, but Jones could have a good shot of competing for reserve minutes in a thin Jazz frontcourt.
Both Dunn and Jones have given the Jazz good minutes in the second half of hte season, and the franchise should look to keep them on the roster next year.
Utah Jazz Next Broadcast
The Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic will tip off at 5 pm MT on Thursday. 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.
Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.
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.
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings