Rudy Gobert Too Much, as Doncic and Mavs Fall to Jazz in Utah, 112-107
After shooting the lights out in a highly-entertaining road win in Portland, the Dallas Mavericks looked to keep the momentum going against a Utah Jazz team that is currently second in the West and had won 18 of its last 20 games.
Despite Dallas building a double-digit lead in the second half, and holding a 107-106 lead with less than a minute remaining, Utah showed why it has one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA by scoring the game’s final six points and winning, 112-107.
Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavs, as he usually does, by tallying 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists. However, Doncic’s shooting touch didn’t do him any favors in this one, as he shot just 11-of-25 from the field, 2-of-10 from three and 1-of-5 from the free-throw line. A few more makes from the field and the free throw line, and the Mavs probably could have stolen one on the road.
After getting off to a really nice start, Kristaps Porzingis ended the game with 15 points and just two rebounds, while shooting 6-of-14 from the field and 3-of-8 from deep. On the other side, Rudy Gobert feasted with 22 points (on a perfect 8-of-8 from the field), 17 rebounds and five big blocks. ... including a game-clincher.
Although Gobert won this battle for the 32-13 Jazz, Porzingis showed glimpses of how the Mavs could create a real matchup nightmare for the Jazz if they were to meet in the postseason later this year — that is, if Porzingis is able to raise his efficiency between now and then. On numerous occasions, Porzingis had wide-open looks from deep because Gobert wanted no part of going out to the perimeter to guard him — he just couldn’t make Utah pay for it this time.
The Mavs (28-17) will now travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in the final outing on this three-game road trip on Monday night. Recently acquired big man Willie Cauley-Stein will meet the Mavs In Oklahoma City, but it is unknown if he’ll suit up for that game. Dallas will look to avenge their New Year’s Eve 106-101 loss to OKC, where the Mavs were outscored 14-2 in the final three minutes.
Maybe the lesson learned there and the lesson learned here will show dividends soon. But as KP conceded after the loss in Utah, "“We’re still learning to play under high pressure.”