DALLAS – Bojan Bogdanovic put Utah ahead to stay just before the break, Donovan Michell got aggressive in the second half and the only shot by Royce O’Neale was a huge afternoon for the Jazz.
All the injured guard Luka Doncic could do for the Dallas Mavericks was watch from the bench, where at one point he was chewing 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 on Saturday over the Mavericks, who cut an 11-point lead to one before O’Neale’s triple.
“The fact that he didn’t hesitate and shoot that ball, it’s a mindset, and I think it’s a mindset that our team has right now,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Fourth seed Mavs, who was starting the playoffs at home for the first time since his NBA title season 11 years ago, missed his 23-year-old superstar even though Jalen Brunson had 24 points and Spencer Dinwiddie 22. Doncic strained his left calf. six days earlier at the end of the regular season. Coach Jason Kidd just said it’s day to day.
Game 2 of the best of seven series is Monday night in Dallas.
Bogdanovic had Utah’s only two triples before the break, in a 13-2 run in the final 3 1/2 minutes that put the Jazz ahead to stay. Mitchell, who always seems to take it one step further in the postseason, had life after the break.
“I came out too passive (early), and in the same way, Bojan was filming,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t feel like I was out of control, Bojan had it up and running … In the second half, I came out in attack mode.”
With Doncic in a black sweatshirt on the bench, the Mavericks went 92-91 in a Maxi Kleber triple with 2:12 left. After Mitchell erred, the Mavs had a chance to take their first advantage in the second half, but Kleber erred badly on another long shot.
“Think about it: we lost by six, I lost six free throws. We’re there. In my opinion, this should be encouraging for our fan base,” Dinwiddie said. “Give them credit. They went out there and won the game. … With them having their top two scorers, they both go to 30 basically and still keep them below 100, overall I think there’s a lot of room for optimism.”
O’Neale made the triple in the same possession that failed inside before receiving a pass from Mitchell and hitting the shot clock from the right corner. Utah finished with a 20-7 lead on second chance points.
“I had in my head that he was going to shoot anyway,” O’Neale said, when asked about the firing clock below.
Brunson, the starting base with Doncic down, was 9 of 24 with seven rebounds and five assists.
“We miss a lot of easy looks, a lot of great looks. We just miss them,” Brunson said. “We’re just playing basketball. You don’t know who shoots what and where. We just put ourselves in a position to make plays for each other. Coach Kidd gives us that ability and that confidence.”
NOT MANY 3s
The Jazz, second in the NBA with 14.5 shots of 3 per game, were 7 of 22 and missed their first nine shots from beyond the arc until Bogdanovic hit 3:10 for the end of the second quarter. He also had his only other 3 before the break, receiving a pass from Mitchell with 2.2 seconds left for a 45-43 lead.
“I think the half-time conversation (with Mitchell) was really the play he made at the end of the second quarter,” Snyder said. “Playing with our strength. Bojan came and went, and Donovan found it. I thought as we finished the second quarter it was a big part of the game.”
DONCIC TO THE BAND
Doncic was eating one-handed popcorn near the end of the first quarter. Later, he was on the side of owner Mark Cuban as both, along with much of the Mavs’ bench, responded dismayed with 31 seconds left in the first half after Kleber was penalized for a foul on Bogdanovic, who threw the two free throws. After Brunson hit a hard shot at the other end, Bogdanovic made his 3rd half final.
Jazz: Rudy Gobert missed his only shot from the field, but made five free throws and grabbed 17 rebounds. … Utah received a technical foul early in the fourth quarter for having six men on the court. Brunson missed the free-kick for Dallas. Mitchell looked like he knew exactly where he wanted to put the ball, but unfortunately his shot went wide of the left hand post.
Mavericks: Dinwiddie was 6 out of 15 from the field and 10 out of 16 from the free kick line. … Reggie Bullock added 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith 14. Guard Frank Ntilikina rejoined the team after undergoing a tonsillectomy, and will gradually return to basketball activities.
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Mitchell, Jazz win the first game 99-93 while the Mavs play without Doncic
Source link Mitchell, Jazz win the first game 99-93 while the Mavs play without Doncic