They came out with more aggression in that third quarter. Something we’ve been struggling with, kind of knocked us back on our heels, kind of took our momentum and it’s hard to come back from that. —Dallas Mavericks guard Devin Harris
SALT LAKE CITY – If you know Quin Snyder, the Utah Jazz coach doesn’t like to reveal much about his personal life to the public.
He couldn’t hide the fact that Monday marked his 51st birthday, though.
Leading up to the game, Snyder dodged questions centered around the big day, but the night couldn’t have ended much better for the sideline leader as the Jazz won their second straight game at home against the Dallas Mavericks, 104-89.
“If you’ve had as many of them as I’ve had, they lose their special importance,” Snyder smirked. “So, the best part of my day other than this was carving a pumpkin.
“That’s maybe why I’m smiling, if I’m smiling,” he added. “Just don’t get too high or too low with this group, no matter whose birthday it is.”
Jazz players Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio said they were both aware of Snyder’s birthday and used it as motivation.
“We definitely wanted to get a win for him on his birthday; we didn’t want to come in the locker room on a loss,” said Favors, who ended with 10 points and four boards on 4-for-12 shooting.
Rubio posted 13 of his 20 points in the second half, while hitting 4-of-8 triples. He also dished out six dimes.
“We want to keep him happy with tomorrow off, so I hope that’s a good gift for him so we have tomorrow off,” Rubio said, smiling. “Tell him.”
Rodney Hood was the star of the show, scoring 15 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter. Rudy Gobert was just as spectacular with 17 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks, two steals and a career-high six assists.
“I was just real aggressive with trying to put pressure on the defense, and that was really about it,” Hood said.
Utah’s defense also held the Mavericks to 36 total points in the second half, while forcing 24 total turnovers. Dallas led by as many 14 points in the first half, before the Jazz rallied back with a 60-36 run in the second half.
Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 18 points as the team connected on 50 percent of its 3-pointers, but Dallas couldn’t hold on to the ball.
J.J. Barea and Devin Harris combined for 32 points off the bench.
“(Committing) 24 turnovers in here, you just can’t survive. You just can’t,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our history is we’re a good turnover team, but the last couple of games we’ve been bad, so we’ve got to fix it.”
The Jazz opened the game on a 12-5 run. Gobert drained a rare 17-foot jumper, followed by Favors’ first 3-pointer of the season from the corner.
The big men eventually connected again at 6:51 when Gobert found Favors along the baseline for a two-handed jam. But the Mavericks eventually clawed back to take the lead, with red-hot shooting.
Both Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews went 2-for-2 from 3 in the opening half, as the Mavs connected on 64.3 percent of their triples.
The second half was a different story, as Dallas falls to 1-7.
“They came out with more aggression in that third quarter,” said Harris, who ended with 15 points and six assists. “Something we’ve been struggling with, kind of knocked us back on our heels, kind of took our momentum and it’s hard to come back from that.”
Utah (4-3) is set to host Portland at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1. The Jazz are undefeated at home.
Once the clock strikes midnight, the birthday celebration is over as Snyder is already planning for the next opponent.
“For us, more than the streak, it’s about what in the game happened that we can continue to do and what we didn’t do that we can continue to address,” Snyder said.