How ‘Bout This Jazz? (Game 9)
By Rustyn Burnside, ESPN 977
GAME 9 AT DALLAS MAVERICKS (11/02/2022)
39 seconds remained in Dallas. Luka Doncic drew his typical double team as Vanderbilt stepped over to help Conley. Doncic moved quickly sending the bounce pass to his backcourt running mate, Spencer Dinwiddie. Without blinking Dinwiddie copied Doncic’s movements by sending his own bounce pas to the corner to Reggie Bullock. Bullock hadn’t hit a shot all night long and was 0 for 3. With all the defensive focus on Luka, the sudden and unselfish ball movement of Dallas left Utah stumbling defensively. Markkanen who had just pulled the Jazz within tow had to come from the middle of the paint where he was stationed next to Maverick Forward Maxi Kleber to try and contest Bullock’s shot. He couldn’t get there, Bullocks shot dropped and would end up being the game determining basket as Jordan Clarkson’s contested three was off at the buzzer.
This play pretty much summed up the night for the Utah Jazz on the road. The energy and chaos were present, especially early on. Its not as if the Jazz just reverted to the team we thought they would be, it was hard fought and fun to the bitter end, but the better team ended up winning this ball game. Team is the key word here. Yes, Luka Doncic was his usual dominate, aggravating self as he poured in 33 points on 20 shots, but the Jazz once led by 15 points, and it was the small things that led to Dallas recovering. The Mavericks had 60 points in the paint, and of course they outscored Utah 29-22 in the 4th. But above all when it mattered most, players not named Luka Doncic got it going for Dallas. Dinwiddie had half of his 20 points in the last quarter whereas Christian Wood had 9 of his 21 points in the same quarter. Doncic only had 4 points during closing time.
The Jazz had the best bench in the association headed into the loss, Dallas was 4th. We knew both bench units would play massive roles in deciding a winner. The Mavericks bench was the deciding factor with 39 points compared to Utah’s 32. The Mavs bench put up 22 rebounds behind Wood and Dwight Powell, while Utah’s mustered 16 boards. As Tony Jones of the Athletic noted this was “one of the first times this season the Jazz have thoroughly lost the second unit minutes.” Utah failing to capitalize with Luka on the bench was the biggest reason for Utah’s fall to 6-3 on the season.
Jordan Clarkson is living proof that a player’s game can always be changing and evolving. Once thought of as only a pure scorer, Clarkson is becoming one of Utah’s most exciting distributors. Gone are the days of him scoring 41 points with no assists. Like Mike Conley, Clarkson tied a Jazz game high with 8 assists. A lot of these are coming with a certain zip right now making Clarkson a walking highlight reel as a full-time starter. According to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake tribune, Clarkson is averaging near six assist per game. That amount would have been the team leader in assists last year. He also led the jazz in scoring with 22 points.
Talen Horton-Tucker has been a fun player this year at times, last night against Dallas was not the case. THT punched the clock with 13: 57 played, one shot attempt, which to his credit he finished at the rim, and literally nothing else. No rebounds, no assists, no turnovers, no steals, heck he didn’t even foul. THT was literally just doing cardio outside of his one-shot attempt. Rudy Gay also got some run for 13 minutes and at least had 5 boards for comparison’s sake. Walker Kessler in his return also played 4 minutes and fouled once, and that was it, so he gets an honorable mention here as well.
THREE KEY NUMBERS:
- Mavericks Guard, Luka Doncic, after his 33-point performance in the win made some history. Doncic now has 30 or more points in every single game, 7 games into the season. He is the first to do something like that since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963 and only the third player to have ever accomplished that feat.
- Good teams learn how to win on the road, and if the Jazz really want to prove themselves as a good team, they will have every opportunity to do so. 5 of the next 6 games will be outside the cozy confines of Vivint arena. This does not include last nights road loss in Dallas. The only home game in the next 6 will welcome the Lakers to Utah for the first time this year.
- 6-4 Guard, Malik Beasley, led the Utah Jazz in total rebounds on the night with 8. 4 offensive, 4 defensive.
AUDIO OF THE NIGHT:
OPPOSING FAN COMMENT OF THE NIGHT:
“This Utah team scares me more than the playoff version.” -dynamicdonkey83