Luka Doncic Shines, but Donovan Mitchell, Jazz Beat Mavericks

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 7:  Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz on November 7, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz finally earned their first home win of the season and ended a four-game losing streak in the process.

Donovan Mitchell had 23 points and seven assists to help the Jazz earn a 117-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah led nearly the entire game and was up 23 points at halftime before holding on for the win.

Luka Doncic scored 24 points in the Mavericks' seventh loss in the last eight games.

       

Mavericks Should Let Luka Doncic Run the Offense Full Time

Doncic has been just about everything the Mavericks have hoped for to start the season, entering the game with statistics that only Oscar Robertson has matched through his first 10 games, per Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

He had another strong effort against the Jazz, filling up the stat sheet again with 24 points, six rebounds and two assists.

However, he could be doing more on the offensive end if the team will let him.

The Mavericks have given Doncic an important role as a scorer, but he still trailed both Dennis Smith Jr. and J.J. Barea in overall usage rate entering Wednesday, per Basketball Reference.

The rookie has spent much of his time off the ball, only creating for others when he sees an opportunity.

Still, Doncic's vision and passing ability are truly impressive for his age, as he showed with this alley-oop in the first half:

Those watching along wanted to see even more of that:

He is still a bit sloppy with his passes, turning the ball over at least three times in 10 of his 11 games this year. He gave the ball up five times against the Jazz, some of them coming from poor decisions.

This is all part of the development process, though, and it's not too much of a problem with the Mavericks expected to have a long season.

Smith can still be a useful player on both ends of the court, but Doncic needs to be utilized to his full abilities.

     

Healthy Donovan Mitchell Necessary to Give Jazz Any Chance in West

Ankle and hamstring injuries have limited Mitchell so far in his sophomore season, and it has seemingly been a big part of Utah's struggles over the past couple of weeks.

During the team's four-game losing streak, Mitchell missed two games and shot just 17-of-46 (37 percent) in the two games he played.

He fortunately looked much more like his old self against the Mavericks, throwing down some huge dunks during the game:

He was also much more efficient than we have seen as of late, shooting 9-of-17 from the field on his way to 23 points, adding seven assists with just one turnover.

This is the player who burst onto the scene last season and was a major part of the team's run to the second round of the playoffs.

The bad news is the Jazz need him to play at this level nearly every night to remain competitive in the loaded Western Conference.

The defense has struggled much more than expected this season, ranking 18th in defensive efficiency after finishing second in the category last year, per Basketball Reference. It's a small sample size, but the perimeter players have been unable to get stops.

This puts even more pressure on an offense that doesn't have too many go-to options. Rudy Gobert played well Wednesday with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, but he is at his best offensively when others like Mitchell are creating opportunities for him.

Alec Burks (18 points) and Ricky Rubio (10 points and 12 assists) also had strong nights, but there are questions about their consistency.

Mitchell is the only reliable player offensively, and if he isn't on the court and completely healthy, the Jazz won't be able to beat too many teams in the West.

       

What's Next?

The Jazz will finish their homestand Friday against the Boston Celtics. The Mavericks will get a few days off before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Related

    Report: Green Said 'Who the F--k You Talking To?' to Durant

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Green Said 'Who the F--k You Talking To?' to Durant

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Anonymous Warrior: 'No Way' KD Re-Signs

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Anonymous Warrior: 'No Way' KD Re-Signs

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    Hayward Willing to Take Bench Role Amid Struggles

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Hayward Willing to Take Bench Role Amid Struggles

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Which Coaches Will Be Fired Next?

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Which Coaches Will Be Fired Next?

    Zach Buckley
    via Bleacher Report