DALLAS — Despite the thrilling win over mighty Miami the previous night in Salt Lake City, the Jazz's momentum was slowed in a 102-96 loss to Dallas Saturday night in the Lone Star State. Dirk Nowitzki scored 40 points and, another guard burned the Jazz.
Guards: Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward and C.J. Miles, who played 10 more minutes than the starter Hayward, combined to go 8-24 from the field, while Earl Watson was so-so (five points on 2-4 shooting with two turnovers). Backup guard and former Jazz signee Jason Terry scored 22 points and shot 3-6 from distance to pace the Dallas backcourt on a night that Jason Kidd and Vince Carter were nothing special. GRADE: C-
Forwards: While Josh Howard (10 points, six rebounds) was solid and Paul Millsap was excellent offensively (24 points on 11-17 shooting), Nowitzki played murderously, scoring 40 points on a 14-21 effort from the floor. His big night came in less than 29 minutes. No Utah forward could keep up with the 7-footer's dynamic outside play. GRADE: C-
Centers: Al Jefferson's double-digit rebound night came at the cost of a poor offensive showing (11 points on 4-12 shooting). Enes Kanter was hardly a factor in 14 minutes. Brendan Haywood, nabbed seven boards in 31 minutes for Dallas. GRADE: C
Bench: The Utah bench outscored the Maverick reserves 41-36 despite Terry's strong outing. Derrick Favors provided 18 points in 14 minutes and Miles scored 13, albeit on 4-12 shooting. Alec Burks played 29 minutes but committed four turnovers and four fouls to offset his six points on 3-7 shooting. The human pogo stick, Jeremy Evans, was once again issued a 'DNP' despite his strong showing against Houston Wednesday. GRADE: C+
Overall: Following a modest winning streak, the Jazz once again went on the road and provided a 'meh' performance as no one could hold down Nowitzki or Terry. Utah — especially without Raja Bell — once again displayed their inefficiency from beyond the arc, shooting just 4-16. Fans can only hope the defeat doesn't completely nullify the good morale that must have surrounded the team after they defeated LeBron and Co. in an enthusiastic atmosphere the previous evening. GRADE: C
Rhett Wilkinson is a journalism and speech communications major at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at email@example.com or at Twitter: wilklogan