Donovan Mitchell, Jazz win opener as Mavericks play without Luka Doncic
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Bojan Bogdanovic put Utah ahead to stay just before halftime, Donovan Michell got aggressive in the second half and the only made shot by Royce O’Neale was a huge one late for the Jazz.
All that Luka Doncic, an injured guard, could do for the Dallas Mavericks was to watch from the bench where he was eating popcorn.
Mitchell scored 30 of his 32 points after the break, Bogdanovic finished with 26 and the Jazz opened the playoffs with a 99-93 victory Saturday over the Mavericks, who had cut an 11-point deficit to one before O’Neale’s 3-pointer.
” The fact that he didn’t hesitate to shoot that ball, that’s a mindset, which I think is a mindset that our entire team has right now,” Jazz coach Quinn Snyder stated.
Dallas Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock (25) defends as Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) works to the basket in the first half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Dallas.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The fourth-seeded Mavs, starting the playoffs at home for the first time since their NBA title season 11 years ago, sorely missed their 23-year-old superstar even though Jalen Brunson had 24 points and Spencer Dinwiddie 22. Six days before the regular-season finale, Doncic had injured his left calf. Jason Kidd, Coach, has stated that he is still feeling good.
Game 2 in the best of seven series is Monday night in Dallas.
Bogdanovic had Utah’s only two 3-pointers before halftime, in a 13-2 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes that put the Jazz ahead to stay. Mitchell, who is always a star in the postseason was only 1-of-9 when he shot before coming back to life after the break.
” I came out a bit too passive (early), but in the same regard, Bojan was rolling,” Mitchell stated. “I didn’t feel out of control, Bojan had everything going… I was in attack mode during the second half. “
With Doncic in a black hoodie on the bench, the Mavericks got within 92-91 on a 3-pointer by Maxi Kleber with 2: 12 left. The Mavericks had a chance to take the lead in the second period after Mitchell missed. Kleber missed a long-range shot.
“Think of it: We lost six to six and I missed six free throws. We are right there. Dinwiddie stated that this should be encouraging for our fans. Give them credit. They went out and won the game. … With them having their two best scorers both go for 30 basically and still hold them under 100, overall I think there’s a lot of room for optimism. “
O’Neale made the 3-pointer on the same possession he missed inside before later getting a pass from Mitchell and beating the shot clock from the right corner. Utah finished with a 20-7 edge in second-chance points. I knew in my head that I was going to shoot anyway,” O’Neale said when asked about the shot timer.
Brunson, the starting point guard with Doncic out, was 9 of 24 with seven rebounds and five assists.
“We missed a lot easy looks, a bunch of great looks. Brunson stated that they just missed them. “We’re just playing basket basketball. There is no way to know who is shooting where and what. We can all just put ourselves in a position to make plays together. Coach Kidd gives us that ability, and that confidence. “
NOT A LOT OF 3s
The Jazz, second in the NBA with 14.5 made 3-pointers a game, were 7 of 22 and missed their first nine shots from beyond the arc until Bogdanovic hit with 3: 10 left in the second quarter. He also had their only other 3 before halftime, taking a pass from Mitchell with 2.2 seconds left for a 45-43 lead. Snyder stated that Mitchell’s halftime conversation was the play he made at quarter’s end. “Playing to your strengths. Bojan came up, peeled out, Donovan found him. I thought the second quarter was the most important part of the game. “
DONCIC ON THE SIDELINE
Doncic was eating popcorn out of a cup hand near the end of the first quarter. Later, he was standing by owner Mark Cuban as both — along with much of the Mavs bench — responded in dismay with 31 seconds left in the first half after Kleber was called for a foul against Bogdanovic, who then made both free throws. Bogdanovic completed his half-time after Brunson missed a difficult shot at the other end.
Jazz: Rudy Gobert missed his only shot from the field, but made five free throws and grabbed 17 rebounds. Utah was given a technical foul for having six players on the court in the fourth quarter. Dallas’ free throw was missed by Brunson. It seemed that Mitchell was returning to the game to replace Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson was running towards the sideline, but was apparently still on court when the ball was thrown.
Mavericks: Dinwiddie was 6 of 15 from the field and 10 of 16 from the free throw line. … Reggie Bullock added 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith 14. After a tonsillectomy, Guard Frank Ntilikina has returned to the team and will return to basketball gradually.
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