WIth the odds stacked against the Jazz in this series, our youthful core looked to make a splash in Dallas. Utah has only won 3 of their last 25 in Dallas.
Tonight, looked like a night for the Jazz to capitalize on a weakened Mavs squad with Tyson Chandler out and Monta Ellis ailing.
Both of these team's brought their winter game and started off ice cold for the first 6 or so minutes, with combined shooting of 2 for 16, with the score being tied 2-2 about halfway through the first quarter.
The Mavericks then began to bring some sort of passable NBA-level offense while the Jazz remained in an offensive coma for the entire 1st quarter.
Jazz finished the anemic period shooting 4 for 20 with 9 points to the Mavericks 22.
The Jazz seem insistent on playing terrible quarters every now and then so at least they got their horrid quarter out of the way early tonight.
The Mavs were led by.....*does double-take at stats sheet in confusion* Charlie Villanueva in that opening period with 8 points off of 3 shots.
The Jazz were led by....erm never mind, nobody is a leader in a 9 point quarter.
The Jazz in the 2nd quarter finally began to, how do you say......
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>JAZZ might need this right now. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WakeUpCALL?src=hash">#WakeUpCALL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UTAatNOP?src=hash">#UTAatNOP</a> <a href="http://t.co/IDBLVQoLAY">pic.twitter.com/IDBLVQoLAY</a></p>— mizuho nishio (@jashin_mizuho) <a href="https://twitter.com/jashin_mizuho/status/564967382213345280">February 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Our surprise under-the-radar weapon Novak injected life into this Jazz team for the 2nd consecutive game. Last game, he doubled his season total of points with 12 more. Tonight, he started the 2nd quarter with back to back 3 point makes.
The other surprise leader for the Jazz team in the first half was the little Sapling: Elijah. Nobody scored more than his 8 points in the first half. His suffocating defense and sufficient offensive skills has appeared to stick around as a key part of this Jazz rotation, especially since the Jazz's first 4 options at Shooting Guard are injured.
The Jazz sprinted to the half, only down by 2: 37 to 39.
Extremely impressive half for the Jazz on the defensive end, keeping the Mavs to 39 off of 35% shooting. This is a Dallas team that ranks in the top 3 in offensive efficiency. They also held them to 12% below their season average in FG% in the first half.
Thank Officer Stifle Tower Man's 4 first half blocks (that's Gobert, by the way, for all of you behind the times) as well as Favors' 2 for the blistering defensive effort. I also noticed a much higher level of defensive effort from our very own Turkish Bull Kanter tonight. Way to hold Dirk to 4 first half points big fella!
The Mavericks offense then appeared to reawaken as they bursted back to an 11 point lead shortly after the Jazz got their first lead since the opening buckets. JJ Barea began to assume the role of Jazz killer with 15 points and 2 assists in the 3rd quarter. JJ was involved in every Mavs' basket to for the first 10 1/2 minutes of the 3rd quarter! MADNESS!!!??!!!
Jazz went into the closing period down 57-64.
The Mavs began to simply straightup outhustle the Jazz on many plays and forced a lot of turnovers.
However, we did have a 2nd Novak sighting of the night, with him draining another pair of triples for his 2nd straight game with 12 points to help triple his scoring total for the season in the last 2 games.
Jazz were down 10 points with roughly 4 minutes until suddenly Burke, Favors, and Hayward turned up the intensity. Burke suddenly made on of his world-famous clutch 3 pointers to bring it within 7.
Favors and Hayward were getting aggressive taking it to the rack to get some easy free throws.
Jazz were still down by 6 with under a minute to go when Trey found Favors who got himself an AND1! And actually made the free throw, hallelujah!!!!!!!
Hayward then got a clutch steal and took it all the way for the easy slam to bring it within 1 point with 15 seconds to go.
After the intentional foul to give Ellis some free throws, Jazz were down 3 with a chance to tie it for the last play of regulation. But the Mavs' bothersome defense got in the way of the plans the Jazz had when Hayward forced a pass to Favors that he just could not quite get his hands on. Mavs steal the ball away. Game Over. Sad Face.
Jazz were one possession away from their first 3 game winning streak of the season. They played pretty well for only scoring 9 points in the first quarter.
In the end, the Jazz's 17 turnovers killed them, and even more so, their 52% shooting from the free throw line. We simply cannot expect to come away with a win on the road against a playoff team in the west when we are messing up that much with our passes and free throws. But alas, these are just some of the growing pains we have to accept to go through this season as our guards continue to struggle to learn Quin's system.
Hayward finished with a near triple double with 12, 9, and 8.
Jazz lost 87-92
Jazz's next game is after the all star game on the 20th against the Blazers. Hopefully our winded team enjoys their rest until then.
Have a good night folks, Go Jazz!