DALLAS (ABC4 Sports) – Down the stretch of Game 2, the Jazz didn’t defend, the Mavs couldn’t miss, and now the series is tied up at one game apiece.
Jalen Brunson went off for a career-high 41 points, while Maxi Kleber drilled eight three-pointers, as Dallas evened up its playoff series against Utah with a 110-104 victory in Game 2.
The Mavs played its second straight game without All-Star Luka Doncic, who is still out with a calf strain. But Dallas sank 22 of 47 three-pointers, with 17 uncontested 3s going in for the Mavs. The 22 three-pointers set a playoff record for the team.
“When a team does have a hot shooting night, whether they’re contested or not, making 47% of their 3’s is going to be a tough game to win,” said head coach Quin Snyder.”
“We’ve got to guard the ball,” added Donovan Mitchell. “We’ve got to do a better job of that, and limit the wide open 3s, at least rotate or do something.”
Mitchell led the Jazz with 34 points, while Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 25. Jordan Clarkson added 21 points off the bench. Rudy Gobert , who finished third in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting, was held to eight points, but pulled down 17 rebounds.
Utah had a 10-point lead in the second half, but Dallas outscored the Jazz in the fourth quarter, 33-23 to win.
Kleber made 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc, while Brunson made 15 of 25 shots from the field, and was 6 of 10 from three-point range.
“I don’t think it’s the offense for us right now, I think it’s defensively,” said Clarkson. “Figuring out what to do in those situations.”
Dallas played nearly flawless basketball, committing just three turnovers the entire game.
A 3-pointer by Clarkson put the Jazz up 60-50 early in the third quarter, and the only time Dallas led in that quarter was when Kleber hit a 3 with two minutes left for a 74-73 lead. But Bogdanovic then hit a 3, and the Jazz led 81-74 at the end of the third after a basket by Mitchell.
Dallas didn’t lead again until a 3 by Dorian Finney-Smith with 6:12 left.
Brunson, who had 24 points when the Mavs lost 99-93 in Game 1, made his first five shots — with three 3s — in the first 6 minutes. He already had 13 points with Dallas up 16-9, then missed a shot before scoring the next Mavs basket by accelerating through the defense for a layup.
“He didn’t wait,” said Dallas head coach Jason Kidd. “He took up the space and was aggressive from the jump ball. We talked about it earlier. Don’t wait. Get to your spot and do what you do best. I thought he ran the team extremely well.”
For the second straight game, the Jazz dominated the boards, out-rebounded the Mavs, 50-31. But the Jazz were taking the ball out of the basket too many times after Dallas makes.
Mike Conley got in foul trouble and missed all seven of his shots from the field, finishing with zero points and three assists.
Royce O’Neale, who hit the biggest basket of the game on Saturday, made four three-pointers and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 17 points for the Mavs, while Reggie Bullock added 11 points.
Game 3 is Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Vivint Arena, where Dallas has lost 11 straight games.
“The good thing is it’s Game 2, not Game 6, with the series on the line,” said Gobert. “We’ve got a lot of time to watch film and adjust.”
“Give credit where credit is due, they took care of home court like they’re supposed to,” added Mitchell. “But we’ll be better.”