It was once again a tale of two halves for the Utah Jazz. After an absolutely dominant first half by the Dallas Mavericks, Utah came out with great energy and teamwork in the second. The Jazz managed to cut what was once a 28-point deficit to five points, but it was simply not enough as Dallas emerged as 103-93 victors.
Before Utah could get its bearings, the Mavericks jumped out to a quick 20-6 advantage to open the game. Behind a mix of stellar shooting, strong defensive effort and veteran prowess, Dallas controlled the entire first half. At the break, the Mavericks enjoyed a 58-34 lead. Utah could have wilted, but it battled back through some gritty play. An emphatic slam by Derrick Favors with 4:41 left made it a five-point game, but Dallas closed things out with a 13-8 run.
Offseason acquisition Monta Ellis paced the Mavericks with 26 points, while Dirk Nowitzki and Samuel Dalembert chipped in 18 apiece.
Utah’s bench effort: Three of Utah’s five starters — Enes Kanter, Richard Jefferson and John Lucas III — had quiet outings. So how was the game as close as it was down the final stretch? The Jazz’s bench not only kept them in the game, but gave them a fighting chance of winning.
The quintet of Alec Burks, Marvin Williams, Trey Burke, Jeremy Evans and Diante Garrett all played well individually and collectively. Williams, who is fighting through a recently broken nose, was Utah’s best player Friday evening. The masked man scored 19 points on an array of crafty moves. He also contributed five rebounds, three assists and some stout defense. Evans was extremely active and managed to hit all seven of his shots en route to a 14-point effort.
Garrett continues his impressive run, as he registered a game-high eight assists and made some key baskets in the clutch. Burks had a quietly effective game with 11 points. He seems to be benefitted from the return of Burke to the lineup. The rookie did not excel like he did in his debut, but he had his moments.
When it was all said and done, the bench shot 24 of 41 (58.5 percent) and brought 56 points, 16 assists and 14 rebounds.
Odds and ends:
After a scoreless first half, which seemed like a continuation of his forgettable 1-for-17 performance Wednesday, Gordon Hayward managed to battle back with a much more aggressive effort in the second half. He finished with 13 points.
Six of the 10 players that saw time for Dallas are new additions, including three starters.
Jeremy Evans has hit his first 11 shots to start the season.
Dallas point guard Gal Mekel, who was rumored to be a Jazz target a season ago, did not play Friday.
Kanter and Lucas started the game, but began the second half on the bench in favor of Williams and Burke.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company