Donovan Mitchell, Jazz Defeat Mavericks on Christmas with Luka Doncic OutDecember 26, 2021
The Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to three games with a 120-116 win over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks at Vivint Arena on Saturday night. They are 23-9 and keeping pace with the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns for the top spot in the Western Conference.
It was a rather easy win for the Jazz, as the Mavericks were without Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, Trey Burke, Maxi Kleber and several others because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, UTAH: 33 PTS, 3 REB, 3 STL
Kristaps Porzingis, C, DAL: 27 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK
Bojan Bogdanovic, SF, UTAH: 25 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL
Jalen Brunson, PG, DAL: 27 PTS, 2 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL
Mike Conley, PG, UTAH: 22 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL
Donovan Mitchell Continues to Roll
This season, Mitchell has been on a tear, and his incredible run continued on Saturday night against the Mavericks. The 25-year-old notched at least 20 points for the 13th straight game and recorded his ninth 30-plus point game of the season.
Mitchell and the Jazz were in a back-and-forth battle with the Mavericks for most of the night, but he helped the team pull away in the fourth quarter.
Utah Jazz @utahjazz
Everyone say "Merry Christmas, <a href="https://twitter.com/spidadmitchell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@spidadmitchell</a>!"<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeNote?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeNote</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAXMas?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAXMas</a> <a href="https://t.co/axzQULthxd">pic.twitter.com/axzQULthxd</a>
Much of Utah's offensive success can be attributed to Mitchell, who entered Saturday averaging 25.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
The Jazz offense also entered averaging 115.8 points per game, per NBA.com, which is the best in the league. The Charlotte Hornets are second with 114.9 points per game, but their offense isn't comparable.
Mitchell's exploits have allowed other players to find more offensive success, including Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert. Conley had 22 points against the Mavericks, while Bogdanovic finished with 25 points and Gobert with 10 points.
Bogdanovic ranks second on the team in points per game, while Gobert, who is often considered a defensive stalwart, ranks third in that category.
The Quin Snyder-led Jazz teams have all been built on defense, but with the offensive success of Mitchell, coupled with supplemental scorers in Bogdanovic, Conley and Gobert, Utah has changed that narrative.
However, it should also be noted that the Jazz are still one of the better defensive teams in the NBA. They entered with the sixth-best defensive rating at 106.7, per NBA.com. So while the offense is firing on all cylinders, the Jazz appear to be one of the more complete teams in the league.
Kristaps Porzingis' Effort Not Enough for Shorthanded Mavs
Although Porzingis finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks, his effort was not enough as the Mavericks couldn't keep pace with the high-flying Jazz.
Prozingis had missed Dallas' last two games with toe soreness, but the time off only appeared to have helped him as he finished his last game with 13 points, three rebounds and one assist against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But while Porzingis was solid against the Jazz, he is far removed from the player he once was with the New York Knicks, which has resulted in trade rumors surrounding the Latvian.
The Mavericks hoped Porzingis would create a dynamic one-two punch alongside Doncic after signing him to a five-year, $158 million deal in the summer of 2019, but he hasn't lived up to that deal.
The 26-year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his career and also entered Saturday averaging 19.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Saturday's game also emphasized the fact that Porzingis can't carry the Dallas offense. If Doncic and the Mavericks are going to win a championship, it's clear the team will need to add another piece.
In addition to Porzingis, Jalen Brunson was also impressive against Utah, finishing with 27 points, two rebounds and six assists, though he also can't solely carry the Mavericks. Aside from Porzingis and Brunson, most of the team struggled, which doesn't come as a surprise given all the absences because of COVID-19 protocols.
However, it should be noted that Dallas has had one of the worst offenses in the NBA this season, entering averaging 104.4 points per game. The team has also been particularly ineffective from deep, shooting 32.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Mavs shot 32.3 percent from deep against the Jazz.
The Jazz will travel to face the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, while the Mavericks will travel to face the Portland Trail Blazers that same night.