Inside Report: Jazz-Mavericks recap — Mavs keeping streaking against Williams-less Jazz
Behind big nights from Peja Stojakovic and Brendan Haywood, the Mavericks notched their 14th win in the last 15 games, downing a Utah team after its trade of Deron Williams. Earl K. Sneed recaps the action.
DALLAS — Like most around the NBA, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle admitted he was shocked when he heard the news Wednesday morning that the Utah Jazz had moved All-Star point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey in a multi-player deal which also involved Golden State.
Williams, formerly the go-to player for the Jazz, was at the center of Carlisle’s defensive game plan coming into Wednesday night’s showdown between the two teams. But that all changed when the coach caught wind of the trade at the Mavericks’ morning shootaround.
“I found out this morning during shootaround,” Carlisle explained. ”We had started to go through our walkthrough stuff, and then I brought the team’s attention to the fact that this is something that is being reported has happened. And if indeed this is the case, then a couple of situations we’ll play this way. And if he’s here, we’ll play it this way.”
Still, with no Williams on the court, Carlisle expressed to his team the importance of not overlooking the new-look Jazz squad, as the Mavericks hoped to claim their third win over Utah while also snatching what would be a 14th victory in a 15-game span.
The Mavericks (40-16) may not have gotten the message in the early going, but by night’s end they would take advantage of Williams’ departure. And behind a one-sided second half, the Mavericks continued their hot stretch, winning their fourth straight overall with a runaway 118-99 victory.
“It was a little different. We are used to Deron being out there, and he was a big part of what they do,” backup center Brendan Haywood explained. “But, at the end of the day, we can’t feel sorry for them. We have to handle our business … And we did that tonight.”
“I think for the most part we had to get used to Deron Williams not being there,” forward Shawn Marion added. “That was the biggest adjustment, because you prepare for him being there, although we knew about the trade earlier. We still prepared like he was gonna be on the team. So, we just had to go out there and do what we had to do.”
But playing in their first game in nearly a week due to the All-Star break, the Mavericks looked rusty early on, surrendering eight turnovers in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, the Jazz (31-27) capitalized, with big man Al Jefferson leading the charge as the Mavs found themselves behind a 26-23 deficit after one.
“We had eight turnovers in the first quarter. And that really hurt us, because it got them in transition and it took opportunities away from us. So, we were playing from behind,” Carlisle explained.
“It wasn’t pretty there in the first quarter. What really hurt us the most were the turnovers,” forward Dirk Nowitzki added. “Just not quite as sharp as we wanted to be.”
The Mavs attempted to rally behind the play of their reserves in the second stanza, with backup point guard J.J. Barea and Haywood both doing their damage at the rim.
“[Barea] scores the ball so much that a lot of the times defenses collapse in on him and then he can drop the ball off to me — find me cutting to the basket or find other guys,” Haywood explained. “I feel like I know what he’s going to do and I feel like he knows where I’m going to be at. And we just have good chemistry out there.”
Nowitzki and sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic then shot the Mavs to a 59-55 edge at the half, raining in perimeter jumpers as Dallas finished the second period on an 11-4 spurt.
Led by Nowitzki’s 14 points on 5-of-8 from the floor, the Mavericks outshot the Jazz through two quarters, 58 percent to 48 percent. Meanwhile, Jefferson’s 19-point first half was plenty to keep the short-handed Jazz in the game, coupled with Utah’s 15 points scored off 12 Dallas turnovers.
The Mavericks began to put some distance between the two teams in the third quarter, however, while Nowitzki moved past Clyde Drexler for 23rd on the league’s all-time scoring list. Meanwhile, Nowitzki and Stojakovic continued to lead the way, with second-year guard Roddy Beaubois lending a helping hand while point guard Jason Kidd ran the show.
“We quit turning the ball over as much, and that was a big part of it,” Carlisle said after watching the lead reach double figures.
And after Stojakovic scored 10 points in the period, the Mavs took an 88-77 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“Peja is a top five or six shooter, you could argue, of all time. So, if we can get him looks, there’s gonna be a great chance that he’s gonna knock them down,” Carlisle said.
“If he shoots the ball from the outside like that, we’re really gonna be tough to guard, because he really spreads the floor for us,” Nowitzki added when asked about Stojakovic’s performance.
Making up for lost time, the Mavericks didn’t wait long to put the Jazz out of its misery in the final period. And with above-the-rim finishes by Haywood and Marion, the Dallas lead reached as much as 21. Carlisle was then able to get Nowitzki some rest, pulling the 10-time All-Star for the night with 6:11 remaining in the game.
The Dallas bench finished off the rest of the game, with sixth man Jason Terry handling the scoring responsibilities to down the Jazz to a fifth straight defeat.
“We’ve got to build on the second half,” Carlisle said. “Look, it’s a good win. It’s a good team, even without Deron Williams … They make you play, so it was a win we needed to get.”
The Jazz finished with four scorers in double figures led by Jefferson’s game-high 30 points.
Nowitzki finished the night with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, while Stojakovic pitched in 18 points on 7-of-9 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
The Mavs also ended the night with seven total players in double figures, as Marion (16), Barea (13), Terry (13), Haywood (12) and Beaubois (10) all tallied up at least 10 points in the win, while Kidd dished out 12 assists.
“This is a very unselfish team,” Stojakovic said. “And not only that, you are playing with guys who really know how to play basketball. Sometimes you don’t even have to call a play on the offensive end. You just put the ball in [Kidd's] hands, and with ball movement and player movement you get all the good shots.”
Haywood also added 10 rebounds off the bench, matching starting center Tyson Chandler to record just his second double-double of the season, while also helping the Mavs to a 43-33 rebounding edge.
“I like his aggression. He’s going after the ball,” Carlisle said of Haywood.
The Mavericks’ dominance on the glass helped to overshadow the 24 points Utah scored off Dallas’ 19 total turnovers. The same can be said for the Mavs’ 23 points scored after Utah’s 20 giveaways.
And behind a season-high shooting night, the Mavericks were able to walk away from their home floor victoriously, connecting on 58 percent from the floor and 10-of-20 from 3-point range. It’s the fifth straight game the Mavs have shot at least 50 percent from the field, equaling the longest stretch since a span from March to April of 2004.
Meanwhile, the Dallas defense held the Jazz to just 46 percent shooting at the other end of the floor.
The team will now practice in Dallas on Thursday and Friday before boarding a flight to begin a three-game road trip against rookie standout John Wall and the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
The Mavericks galloped away with a 102-92 win when the Wizards made their only regular-season trip to Dallas back on Jan. 31. And Marion says that it will once again take a total team effort if the Mavericks are to sweep the season series with the upstart Wizards.
“We’ve just got to go out there and impose our will,” Marion said when looking ahead. “It’s not about them, it’s about us. So, we’ve got to go out there and take care of business, and definitely try not to have 20 turnovers.”
Note: Starting a three-game road trip on Saturday night, the Mavs will head into the nation’s capital looking for a second win over rookie phenom John Wall and the Washington Wizards. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
The team will return to Dallas and host the Indiana Pacers next Friday, March 4, looking to avenge a 102-89 road loss on Jan. 12. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Great seats are still available and tickets can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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