In a game of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, high emotions and clutch plays, the Utah Jazz managed to dig deep in the fourth quarter Monday to garner a hard-fought victory over the Dallas Mavericks, winning 100-94.
Utah went down by eight early in the fourth, but played with poise and passion to sneak out of EnergySolutions Arena with a win. The Jazz now sit at 18-18 and 11-4 at home.
Backcourt Brilliance: Much to Jazz fans’ excitement, the story for their team was the performance of its youthful backcourt of Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks.
Hayward was clearly the best player on the basketball court Monday evening. He exhibited a determined aggressiveness while playing with great patience. As has been the case of late, the swingman was dialed in from the perimeter, doing much of his damage on a litany of jump shots. Furthermore, he did not back down from the Mavericks’ physicality.
When it was said and done, the third-year man hit 8 of 14 from the floor, including a sharp 4 of 5 on 3-pointers. He tallied 27 points, five assists, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Hayward went 34 minutes without a single turnover, an area of struggle recently.
His partner-in-crime for the entire fourth quarter, Burks may not have had as pristine a stat line, but the sophomore guard’s effort was integral for Utah’s big push in the end. He was scrappy on both ends of the court, putting forth a solid showing on defense. Burks was also able to slice and dice his way toward seven free-throw attempts. He had 13 points and four rebounds.
Pushing and Shoving: The common tenor of many Jazz-Mavs games has been the physical nature of the matchups. Monday was par for the course, as both squads were not afraid of exerting a little physical play. Chris Kaman earned a first-half flagrant foul as he pulled down Al Jefferson on the block. He and Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki inflicted and received their share of elbows and shoves. For the Jazz, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors doled out some hard fouls of their own.
Statistics that Stick Out:
• Led by Hayward’s marksmanship, the Jazz hit 10-of-19 triples.
• Despite visibly struggling with the effects of nagging injuries, Nowitzki still shot his way to 20 points.
• Seven Utah players had blocked shots.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.