Nowitzki helps Mavericks coast past Jazz 105-82
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Playing a complete game on offense has almost become a trademark for Dallas early in the season. The Mavericks have built an identity around high scoring and efficient shooting.
The Mavericks finally got to see their defense enjoy the same experience against Utah. From start to finish in a 105-82 victory on Friday night, Dallas allowed room for the Jazz to create any sustained offensive rhythm.
Utah committed 23 turnovers and the Mavericks enjoyed a 32-9 advantage in points off turnovers. That kept the Jazz from threatening any serious rally after halftime.
''Our defense has been solid over halves, but it hasn't been solid over whole games,'' Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. ''We wanted to make sure we'd keep up and keep pressure on them.''
Nowitzki made the defensive effort count on the other end. He scored 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. The veteran all-star now has 26,913 career points, moving within 33 points of Hakeem Olajuwon on the NBA all-time scoring list.
Those points came from making smart and efficient plays. Nowitzki shot 11 of 18, including 5 for 8 from 3-point range.
''Everybody better enjoy watching Dirk Nowitzki while he's still playing, because there's not going to be another one like him ever,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ''This is a once-in-a-lifetime guy and he's a total game changer.''
Tyson Chandler added 15 points and 13 rebounds. Monta Ellis scored 13 as the Mavericks bounced back from a loss to Portland one night earlier.
Alec Burks led the Jazz with 14 points. Gordon Hayward had 12, Trey Burke and Dante Exum added 11 apiece for Utah.
''They're obviously an excellent offensive team,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ''They execute very well and I thought we just wore down defensively when we didn't see the ball go in the basket.''
It all started when Dallas forced eight turnovers in the first quarter and scored 13 points off those miscues. The Jazz also missed eight of their first 12 shots from the field to help the Mavericks get a fast start.
''When you turn the ball over against a good team like that, it slims your chances of winning,'' Burke said. ''It's something we have to get better at each and every day. We'll watch film on it tomorrow and see where we could have played better and learn from it.''
Nowitzki drained a 3-pointer - the last of four baskets in five possessions for Dallas - to spark an 11-2 run that gave the Mavericks a 22-10 lead with 2:46 left in the first. Utah got on track late in the quarter and cut the deficit to 24-23 early in the second.
Once the Jazz made it a one-possession game, Nowitzki went to work again. He scored three baskets and fed Chandler for another layup to fuel a 15-2 spurt that put the Mavericks up 39-25.
Utah rallied a second time, cutting it to five on back-to-back 3s from Hayward and Burke. But Nowitzki hit another 3-pointer and Chandler scored on a dunk less than a minute later to put Dallas back ahead by double digits at 45-34.
''I just liked the vibe of the team,'' Carlisle said. ''The ball was moving, the execution was good, guys were into it on both ends the whole night.''
The Mavericks solidified their control after halftime by scoring nine unanswered points to open the third quarter. Chandler Parsons capped the run with a pair of free throws to give Dallas a 61-44 lead.
Nowitzki hit another 3-pointer to cap a run of baskets on three straight possessions that pushed the Mavericks to an 85-62 lead early in the fourth.
''We played better defense,'' Parsons said. ''We were all locked in and we all made an effort that we were going to defend tonight - especially coming out in the second half. And it showed. When we get stops like that, it fuels our offense.''
Mavericks: Dallas has won seven consecutive regular-season games against the Jazz. The Mavericks went 4-0 vs. Utah last season and have won three straight in Salt Lake City. . Nowitzki is tearing it up through the Mavericks' first six games. He is averaging a team-best 21.2 points while shooting 54.4 percent from the field - including 44.8 percent from 3-point range. Dallas is averaging 11.2 turnovers per game. The Mavericks had just eight against Utah.
Jazz: Two weeks after claiming Jordan Hamilton off waivers, the Jazz parted ways with the forward. Utah placed Hamilton on waivers Thursday. The 6-foot-7 forward, in his fifth season out of Texas, was inactive for each of the team's first five games. ... Utah struggled from the perimeter early in the game. The Jazz started 0 for 10 from 3-point range before Hayward broke the ice midway through the second quarter. They finished shooting 32.1 percent (9 of 28) from outside the arc.
The Mavericks host Miami on Sunday.
The Jazz visit Detroit on Sunday.