Alex Lowry

The Roundup—Jazz race to early lead, hold on against feisty Mavs

by Matt Payne

Getting the Mavs on the second half of their back-to-back? On Throwback Night? Wearing Classic Edition purple uniforms? With Donovan Mitchell back in the lineup?

Yeah, that's just what the Jazz needed.

After four straight losses, Utah came out and played with focus and fire Wednesday night, leading from wire to wire in a 117-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Salt Lake City.

"I think we came out with the right mindset defensively," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said after the game. "We were rewarded for that."

Mitchell, who returned to the court after missing Monday's game with a sprained ankle, led the Jazz (5-6) with 20 points, while Rudy Gobert racked up yet another double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, one steal and four blocks.

The Jazz led by as many as 26 points before Dallas cut the margin to nine midway through the fourth quarter. Mitchell, though, scored seven points down the stretch to help seal the win.

Alec Burks scored 18 points (and shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range), while Jae Crowder (14 points), Derrick Favors (13 points, six rebounds, two steals, three blocks) and Ricky Rubio (10 points, 12 assists, three steals) also scored in double figures in the win.

Standout rookie Luka Doncic led the Mavericks (3-8) with 24 points. DeAndre Jordan double-doubled with 11 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, and former Jazz guard Wesley Matthews added 13 points in the loss.

Wednesday's Best

The Jazz needed Mitchell's playmaking in a big way, and the second-year guard delivered. Mitchell scored a team-high 20 points on an efficient 9-for-17 shooting, and he added five rebounds, seven assists (with only one turnover) and two steals in 33 minutes. He also shot 3-for-8 from 3-point range, with his final triple sealing the victory with 2:13 left to play.

Key Stretches

Jumpers by Rubio and Mitchell, followed by two 3-pointers by Joe Ingles and an alley-oop slam from Rubio to Favors, got the Jazz going early. A corner three by Favors and three-point play by Gobert pushed Utah's lead to 18-8 at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter. The Jazz would go on to lead 30-18 after one period.

Utah opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run thanks to a 3-pointer by Danté Exum and layups by Royce O'Neale and Crowder. After that, it was a dunk contest between Gobert and Mitchell as the Jazz took a 68-45 lead into halftime.

Dallas cut Utah's lead down to 16 midway through the third quarter thanks to 3-pointers from Doncic, Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. Utah, though, answered with block by Gobert that led to a dunk by Crowder, and then three straight 3-pointers by Burks. Within two minutes that lead was back up to 23.

Dallas rookie Jalen Brunson scored seven straight points to cut Utah's lead to nine early in the fourth quarter, and the Jazz went nearly four minutes without scoring until Mitchell banked in a left-handed runner with 6:47 left. Mitchell then made two free throws and, on Utah's next possession, drove to the hoop and kicked it down the baseline to Crowder for a jumper that put the Jazz back up 107-94 with 5:46 left in the game.

Significant Stats

31

The Jazz dished out 31 assists on 43 made baskets, with Rubio (12), Mitchell (seven) and Ingles (six) leading the way.

25

Utah scored 31 points off of Dallas' 25 turnovers. The Jazz forced seven turnovers (which led to 13 points) in the first quarter alone, which helped them build their lead early on.

90.0

The Mavericks stayed alive thanks in large part to their free-throw shooting. Dallas shot 36-for-40 (90.0 percent) from the line, while the Jazz struggled once again at 18-for-26 (69.2 percent).

Coach's Quote of the Night

"We wanted to play defense with heart, and I think we did that. Now we've got to add some smarts."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Notable

The Jazz celebrated 40 seasons of basketball since the team moved to Salt Lake City from New Orleans. ... Gobert fouled out with 3:16 left in the game. ... The Jazz outscored the Mavs 50-30 in the paint. ... Jordan set a new Mavericks franchise record by grabbing at least 10 rebounds for the 11th straight game. ... Favors and Rubio picked up technical fouls for Utah. Smith Jr. and Salah Mejri did the same for Dallas. ... The Mavericks outscored the Jazz 18-8 in second-chance points. ... J.J. Barea chipped in 11 points (and shot 7-for-7 from the free-throw line) off the bench for the Mavs.

Up Next

The Jazz will remain home for a primetime matchup with the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30pm MT and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.