DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz, 111-101, in their first preseason game of the 2021-22 NBA season that featured some impressive minutes from new roster additions and confirmed that star Luka Doncic is in strong form to start the season.
The game marked the beginning of new head coach Jason Kidd's era. It also marked the first season since 2017 that the 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis has been healthy to start the season.
As expected, Porzingis and Doncic played only in the first half. However, the stars did make a splash. Doncic dazzled from beyond the arc, putting Jazz reserve defenders on their heels and finishing with 19 points in 16 minutes.
“You could see Luka was trying to get him the ball in the flow — nothing forced,” Kidd said. “I thought Luka looked great.”
Last season started a bit sooner than Doncic had expected and the Slovenian star was admittedly not quite in game-ready shape. Fresh off an Olympic run with Slovenia, Doncic does not appear to have that problem this season. Porzingis also got off to a good start, getting into the groove and scoring 7 points with 3 assists and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes.
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“KP’s been great on both sides of the floor,” Kidd says. “I think you can see the excitement – the joy of playing.”
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Reggie Bullock, Moses Brown and Sterling Brown are the Mavs’ top three offseason acquisitions who played tonight. Moses Brown started alongside Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Green. Moses Brown provided a splash of excitement right from the start, dunking on the first play of the game. Also, Sterling Brown threw down a reverse dunk to start the third quarter that brought the entire Mavs bench to their feet.
The Jazz rested seven of their top nine rotation players, including Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gay and Bojan Bogdanovic. Mavs starters Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell, and backup guard Frank Ntilikina did not suit up tonight.
Overall, fans in attendance at the American Airlines Center watched a good warm-up game against Utah's "JV" squad. Plus, Boban Marjanovic splashed in back-to-back three-pointers... which makes everyone smile.
“I thought the guys did a great job,” said Kidd. “The energy, effort, game plan. …”
Next, the Mavs continue their preseason slate, hosting the Los Angeles Clippers (who knocked Dallas out of the first round of the playoffs last season) on Friday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.