Jazz look to avenge 50-point loss vs. Mavs
The Utah Jazz get an opportunity to avenge one of the most lopsided losses in franchise history Saturday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks in Salt Lake City.
Both teams will be looking to rebound from defeats on the second night of back-to-backs, with the Jazz having been extended to double overtime on the road before falling to Oklahoma City 148-147 on Friday, and the Mavericks taking the conventional route to their 114-104 home loss to Denver.
The clubs will be meeting for the fourth and final time this season. The Jazz have won two of the first three, including 117-102 in November in the only previous meeting in Utah.
Seven days later, the Mavericks rolled to a 118-68 win at home, the 50-point margin of defeat the worst for the Jazz since moving to Utah from New Orleans.
The franchise record for most lopsided loss occurred in March of 1979 when New Orleans was shellacked 158-102 by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Jazz have since rebounded to become one of the most consistent offensive teams in the league. After being held to fewer 100 points in six of nine games sandwiching the 68-point debacle in November, they've reached triple figures in 21 of their last 22 games, capped by the season-best, 147-point effort Friday.
The offensive surge has helped the Jazz (32-26) solidify their playoff standing with 12 wins in their last 17 games. Utah will play 13 of its final 24 games at home.
"Everyone knows the schedule, the ladder, how everyone's sitting," forward Joe Ingles noted to reporters leading into Friday's game at Oklahoma City. "At the end of the day, we just want to be playing our best basketball by the end of the year."
Utah had its offense in high gear in its two earlier wins over Dallas, shooting 52.5 and 48.3 percent and making a combined 23 3-pointers. Donovan Mitchell averaged 21.5 points and Rudy Gobert 20.0 in those victories.
As their results against the Jazz would indicate, the Mavericks have been inconsistent defensively this season.
At the time of the November win, Dallas was in a three-game stretch in which it did not give up more than 98 points.
The Mavericks had a similar run bridging January and February, holding four straight opponents to fewer than 100 points. But they've since allowed 122, 101, 120, 112 and 114 in their last five games, coming out on the losing end on four of those occasions.
As Friday's lackluster effort once again pointed out, the Mavericks seem to have lost interest in the season. They dealt away three starters at the All-Star break, with the prize import, Kristaps Porzingis, unlikely to play until next season.
They also recently lost key reserve J.J. Barea to a season-ending Achilles injury.
Another member of the Mavericks was in the news for someone else's injury, following college star Zion Williamson's shoe-related mishap on national television earlier this week.
So was the Jazz's biggest star.
After the North Carolina-Duke game in which Williamson got hurt, the Jazz's Mitchell tweeted, "Again let's remember all the money that went into this game ... and these players get none of it ... And now Zion gets hurt ... something has to change NCAA."
Mavericks rookie star Luka Doncic responded by saying: "Go play in Europe."
Doncic outscored Mitchell 24-23 in their previous head-to-head in Utah, though Mitchell walked away with the win.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 23, 2019