In 2001, young forward Dirk Nowitzki brought the Dallas Mavericks back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the aging Utah Jazz in a best-of-five first round series. Some 13 years later, Nowitzki is now the seasoned vet and the Jazz are the young squad, but the results remain the same. Behind their star’s stellar play, the Mavericks handed Utah a 108-101 defeat.
On his first touch of the game, Nowitzki drained a patented perimeter jumper that moved him to the 12th spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. And if Wednesday was any indicator, he’s got a lot more jump shots in him. Nowitzki put 31 points on the board in just 33 minutes Wednesday night.
The game went back and forth and was close through much of the fourth quarter before Dallas made key plays down the stretch to steal a needed road win for a team in the quest for the postseason. Meanwhile, Utah is on pace to tie for the league’s fourth worst record.
Digressing defense: After showing some positive signs, the Jazz have struggled defensively the past few weeks. That less than ideal trend continued versus the Mavericks as Dallas was able to stick with its offensive game plan en route to the victory.
Utah offered modest resistance as the Mavericks repeatedly got the shots they wanted, both inside and out on the perimeter. Dallas connected on 42 of 79 shots, including a stellar 13 of 21 on 3-pointers. Each time the Jazz mounted a run, a Mavericks trey changed the momentum. Nowitzki and reserve guard Wayne Ellington combined to hit all seven of their long distance attempts.
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— Both teams took care of the ball. Dallas had 26 assists to 13 turnovers. Utah doled out 23 assists and had just 11 miscues.
— Former Jazz point guard Devin Harris has enjoyed his new back-up role in the back court. He was a spark off the bench with 12 points, three assists and three rebounds in a mere 20 minutes.
— Offseason acquisition Monta Ellis is having perhaps the best all-around season of his career. He finished with a near triple double — 16 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
— Jazz guard Alec Burks dished out a career-high eight assists.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.