DALLAS (ABC4 Sports) – With Luka Doncic on the bench sidelined with a calf injury in Game 1, the Jazz shut the Mavericks offense down, holding Dallas to just 38 percent shooting and 93 total points.
With Doncic listed as doubtful for Game 2, the Jazz want to build on that performance Monday night.
But the Mavs haven’t ruled Doncic out just yet.
“Well yesterday was another good day and today he’s back on the court,” said Dallas head coach Jason Kidd about his All-Star guard. “That’s a plus, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
“They play a lot different without Luka,” said Jazz point guard Mike Conley, who had 13 points in Game 1. “A lot of guys touch the ball, move it up the court and play from a lot of angles. So I think if we can do better in transition, that would be really big.
It was also really big that the Jazz were able to hold on to a double digit lead and not let it slip away in the fourth quarter, like they had so many times this year, when it looked like it might.
Dallas cut the Jazz 12-point lead to just one with two minutes to play, but the Jazz held on down the stretch, thanks in part to a three-pointer by Royce O’Neale with 56 seconds left.
“It was massive,”Conley said. “Especially the way that the last month of the season kind of was in regards to the fourth quarters and the sigma that we can’t finish games. So for us to do it when it matters most, in a hostile environment, it was just a cool way to win a game that we historically haven’t been able to do.”
“We all love the playoffs,” added Bojan Bogdanovic, who had 26 points for the Jazz. “I love playing in atmosphere like yesterday. I had a bunch of these games in Europe as well, in a hated atmosphere. But it’s that time of the year. We are playing the whole year trying to get those seedings and have home court advantage for this moment.”
Now that the Jazz have the home court advantage, they would really like to hold onto it. Especially seeing how the Jazz won 14 of its last 16 home games in the regular season.
“We need to get another one and get to Utah with a big lead,” Bogdanovic said. “It’s all about our defense. If we defend like we did yesterday, I think we’re gonna have a great chance in the second game as well.”
Game 2 tips off at 6:30 p.m. MT Monday night in Dallas.