Recap: Jazz rally in 4th to start Mavs' road trip
Recap: Mavericks 94 at Jazz 100
Jazz rally in 4th to start Mavs' road trip
Meanwhile, the Mavericks hoped to shake off back-to-back losses in overtime Wednesday at Miami and back in Dallas against New Orleans on Saturday, looking to remain positive despite tying an NBA record shared by three other teams following a 10th straight loss (0-7 this season) in OT overall. And despite entering the night with his squad sitting eight games below .500, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle continued to preach to his players the ingredients to a winning recipe.
“I’m like Colonel Sanders; I’m going to be enthusiastic about this team every single day,” Carlisle said. “You know, it took him decades to convince somebody his recipe would sell, and I’m just as enthusiastic about these guys. There’s a long way to go and we’ve got to keep approaching it with that kind of enthusiasm. … Just call me The Colonel.”
Carlisle and the Mavs then took the court looking for a positive start to their three-game road trip. But instead the Jazz would stage a fourth-quarter rally to continue Dallas’ downward slide, as the Mavericks (13-22) fell to a third straight loss following a 100-94 defeat.
“It’s difficult. It’s disappointing. We were right there, we were playing much better, we just can’t close out the game,” veteran big man Elton Brand said after the Mavs’ third straight late-game collapse. “That’s our next step. Once we close out one I think we’ll hopefully go on a roll and close out a few.”
After not having the services of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and center Chris Kaman in the first meeting between the two teams, Carlisle went to his duo of 7-footers right away to get off to a quick start as the big men scored the Mavs’ first 15 points of the night. Reserve guard Rodrigue Beaubois then connected on a 3-pointer off the feed from Nowitzki late in the opening period, sending the Mavericks into the second quarter with a 26-19 advantage.
After being recalled from the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends one week earlier, rookie first-round acquisition Jared Cunningham saw his first time since returning to the team as the second stanza got underway. But the Jazz (18-18) would rally with a 13-3 spurt to open the quarter while gaining the lead, before Beaubois and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion calmed the visiting team down.
Point guard Darren Collison then took charge of the Mavs’ offense with an array of offensive moves. Still, with Gordon Hayward putting the Jazz on his back before a 3-pointer by Marvin Williams swished in right before the buzzer, the game was tied after 24 minutes of action at 53-all.
Scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, Kaman led the Mavs while helping the Dallas team’s 46.3 percent from the field better Utah’s 39.0 percent at the other end. Meanwhile, Hayward came in off the bench and carved up the Dallas defense for 18 first-half points to keep the Jazz even at the midway mark.
After a hard foul delivered by Kaman on Jazz big man Al Jefferson was ruled to be a flagrant one, the Jazz began the second half by seizing the momentum. But back-to-back jumpers by Brand and a driving and-one lay-in by eight-time All-Star Vince Carter righted the ship for the Mavs as they regained the upper hand on the scoreboard.
A 3-pointer from the wing by Nowitzki off the feed from Carter then gave the visitors an eight-point cushion before entering the final 12 minutes of play with an 80-74 margin under their belt.
Attempting to slow the Mavs down in the fourth, Utah turned up its level of physicality to try to disrupt Dallas’ offensive success.
“They went to basically thugging it up and that’s when the game turned,” Carlisle confessed. “And I thought, you know, that’s when the officiating went their way and they started to get the calls and we weren’t able to get the whistles. It was probably a function of their aggressiveness, but at the same time I thought there were a couple of times where a whistle could have blown for us.
“In those situations, all of us, we’ve got to work at keeping our poise. It’s going to get loud, it’s going to get physical, there’s going to be officiating calls you don’t agree with, and it’s tough, because that’s the kind of game it was.”
Marion then kept the Jazz at bay after gathering a loose ball and hitting a floater to extend what was just a two-point edge. But with Nowitzki and Kaman both on the bench, the Jazz would again rally, tying the game at 86-all on Alec Burks’ 3-pointer with 4:35 remaining. When Nowitzki returned, he still wasn’t enough to bring an end to Utah’s run as Hayward’s attacking drive lifted the Jazz to the lead, before Brand was assessed a technical foul with 2:54 left on the clock for arguing a personal foul call on the sequence.
A driving score by Nowitzki and two pairs of free throws then broke a 13-0 Jazz run and pulled the Mavs within three, 95-92, with 52.3 seconds left. However, Nowitzki’s comeback efforts would fall short after being assessed an offensive foul with 32.2 ticks to play, before a miss from 3-point range by leading scorer O.J. Mayo allowed Hayward to finish the Mavs off at the foul line.
“Well, we struggled putting the ball in the basket and we had a couple of turnovers that hurt us. There were a couple of times I thought there were fouls that were missed and I thought we should have been shooting free throws, and so the accumulation of those things turned into a big run for them and we couldn’t get back over the hump. It was disappointing, ’cause we played a lot of very, very good basketball. I mean a lot,” Carlisle concluded.
Matching his season high set Saturday night against New Orleans in just his second start, Nowitzki finished with a team-best 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting to along with five rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, Kaman went scoreless in the second half to finish with 14 points and nine rebounds, as Mayo added 13 points and Collison and Brand – who also grabbed nine boards – both pitched in 11 points.
Hayward led five Jazz players in double figures with a game-high 27 points on 8-for-14 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
“Hayward had a great game. He hurt us all night long,” Carlisle admitted. “He’s a very athletic player, he’s very skilled and he understands how to play. He got us time and time again. Those threes at the end of the first half were big, ’cause we had a lead then, and then there were just a few plays down the stretch where he hits a shot or gets a hand on the ball, something, and all those things add up.”
The Jazz also hit 10-of-19 as a team from behind the arc, but the Mavs’ 43.2 percent shooting as a team bettered Utah’s 40.3 percent despite losing the rebounding battle, 47-45. Both teams also allowed 17 points off their 11 turnovers.
“It seems like it’s always coming back to the same thing: making mental mistakes,” Nowitzki explained. “Defensively I thought we battled. I thought we battled one of the most physical teams on the boards. So I think we were right there all night and just down the stretch that little something is always missing unfortunately. Proud of the guys and how we battled, we’re just falling a bit short every time.”
He added: “Like I said, that little thing down the stretch is missing, but that separates the good teams or the great teams from the bad teams. They find ways to win ugly games with a couple big plays down the stretch and that’s usually what separates the good from the bad.”
Note: The Mavericks will now continue their road trip Wednesday night in Los Angeles for a second meeting against the Clippers. The Mavs fell to a 112-90 road loss to the Clippers back on Dec. 5. The game will air locally at 9:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.