Utah Jazz take series lead after Game 1 against Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks
DALLAS (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 30 of his 32 points after halftime, Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 26 and the Utah Jazz opened the playoffs with a 99-93 victory Saturday over the Dallas Mavericks, who were without injured All-Star guard Luka Doncic.
Bogdanovic had Utah’s only two 3-pointers before halftime, in a 13-2 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes that put the Jazz ahead to stay. Mitchell, who always seems to step up in the postseason, came alive after the break.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks, starting the playoffs at home for the first time since their NBA title season 11 years ago, sorely missed their 23-year-old superstar. Doncic strained his left calf six days earlier in the regular-season finale. Coach Jason Kidd has said only that he is day to day.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Dallas.
Jalen Brunson, the starting point guard with Doncic out, had 24 points on 9-of-24 shooting with seven rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points, Reggie Bullock added 15 and Dorian Finney-Smith 14.
With Doncic in a black hoodie on the bench, the Mavericks cut an 11-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to 92-91 on a 3-pointer by Maxi Kleber with 2:12 left. After Mitchell missed, the Mavs had the chance to take their first lead in the second half, but Kleber missed badly on another long-range shot.
Royce O’Neale then scored his only basket for the Jazz, a 3-pointer from the corner after he had first missed inside and then got a pass from Mitchell. Utah finished with a 20-7 edge in second-chance points.
Rudy Gobert had 17 rebounds for the Jazz.
The Jazz, who were second in the NBA with 14.5 made 3-pointers a game, missed their first nine shots from beyond the arc until Bogdanovic hit from the right corner in front of the Dallas bench to get them within 41-35 with 3:10 left in the second quarter.
Utah’s only other 3 before halftime by Bogdanovic with 2.2 seconds left for a 45-43 lead after taking a pass back from Mitchell.
Doncic spent the game at the end of the Mavericks bench, at one point munching popcorn from a cup in his hand late in the first quarter. He was on the other side of owner Mark Cuban as both — along with much of the Mavs bench — acted in dismay with 31 seconds left in the first half after Kleber was called for a foul when Bogdanovic went hard into him to draw the call.
Bogdanovic made both of those free throws, and Bruson hit a tough shot at the other end, but the Utah forward made his half-ending 3 that put the Jazz ahead to stay.
Jazz: Utah was called for a technical foul early in the fourth quarter for having six men on the court. Brunson missed the free throw for Dallas. It appeared that Mitchell was coming back in the game for Jordan Clarkson, who was running toward the sideline but was apparently still on the court when the ball was inbounded.
Mavericks: Guard Frank Ntilikina rejoined the team after undergoing a tonsillectomy, and will make a gradual return to basketball activities.