It’s a battle of Western Conference foes down in the Lone Star State. The Utah Jazz are on the road as they travel to face the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night. Utah had their nine game win streak snapped with a disappointing 99-94 home loss to Atlanta Tuesday night. Dallas lost their third straight with a 115-105 road loss to New Orleans Tuesday night. The Jazz has a 96-72 lead in the all-time regular season series and took both meetings this season, including a 97-90 home win in the last matchup on February 24.
Utah Jazz Look to Keep Road Win Streak Alive
Utah had won nine straight and had a chance to cap a perfect homestand but poor shooting doomed them in a loss to the Hawks. As a result, the Jazz dropped to eighth in the West entering Wednesday, two games ahead of Denver. Utah led by six after one quarter and by four after three before getting outscored 36-27 in the fourth as they were unable to contain Dennis Schroder. The Jazz shot just 37.1 percent from the field and went a frigid six of 34 from beyond the arc in the contest. Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 24 points but was only one of 10 from beyond the arc in a nine of 28 shooting performance.
The Jazz enter this contest 25th in the league in scoring offense with 103 points per game. Utah is in the lower half of the pack, ranking 20th in the league in rebounding with 43.1 boards per game. The Jazz is 23rd in the league in assists with 21.7 per contest. Utah currently is 2nd in the league in scoring defense as they allow 99.8 points per game. Ricky Rubio is contributing in his first season with the Jazz with 12.5 points plus 5.4 assists and 1.54 steals per game on the year. Joe Ingles (11.4 points) and Rudy Gobert (14.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.31 blocks) are solid options. Gobert missed 11 games with a tibia contusion and returned January 19 against the Knicks after missing 15 games with a PCL sprain. Derrick Favors (12 points, 7.2 rebounds), Dante Exum and Jae Crowder are other key pieces for the Jazz. Alec Burks, Jonas Jerebko, Royce O’Neale, Donovan Mitchell (team-high 20 points) and Ekpe Udoh are contributors for coach Quin Snyder. Utah is tied for 15th in the league as they shoot 45.6 percent from the floor. The Jazz are 12th in the league in threes per game as they knock down 10.7 triples a night. Utah is tied for 9th in the league in three point shooting as they knock down 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Dallas Mavericks Hope to Snap Skid in Return Home
Dallas dropped their final three games of a four-game road trip as they were upended by the Pelicans. The Mavericks are long eliminated from the playoff race and are in the process of trying to collect ping pong balls: they will try to snap their skid with a win at home. Dallas was up one after the opening quarter and even after three before getting outscored 35-25 in the fourth to take the loss. The Mavericks shot 47.8 percent from the floor and 10 of 35 from beyond the arc in the loss. Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki each had 19 to lead Dallas in the loss.
The Mavericks have struggled on the offensive end of the floor this season. Dallas is 27th in the league in scoring with 102.7 points per game. The Mavericks are 27th in rebounding with 41 boards per contest and are 15th in the league with 22.7 assists per game. Dallas is slightly above average on the defensive end, ranking 12th in scoring defense by allowing 105.2 points per game. Harrison Barnes leads the Mavericks with 18.7 points plus 6.3 rebounds per game. Dennis Smith Jr. (15 points, 4.9 assists) is the point guard of the future: he missed two games with a knee effusion. He missed six games with a strained hip as well this season. Yogi Ferrell (10.2 points) and J.J. Barea (11.5 points, 6.3 assists) are contributing in the backcourt. Doug McDermott, Salah Mejri, Nerlens Noel, Wesley Matthews (12.7 points), Kyle Collinsworth, Dwight Powell and the ageless Dirk Nowitzki are all cogs in the Mavericks’ rotation. Matthews was announced to have fractured fibula on March 12 and is done for the year. Noel missed three months after breaking his thumb and then having surgery to repair a torn ligament in it before returning February 28. Dallas is tied for 24th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.7 percent as a team. The Mavericks are tied for 4th in threes with 11.7 per game but are 16th in three point shooting by hitting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc.
- Jazz are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Jazz are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games
- Jazz are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss
- Mavericks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days
Utah put together a disappointing showing in their loss to Atlanta but the Jazz were probably due for a game like that. The Jazz should be refocused now after that defeat and it should pay dividends against a Dallas team with little to play for. The Mavericks are in the talent evaluation phase as they try to see who might be a fit going forward as they prepare the rebuild. Utah should get back on track and get the victory in this contest.
Pick: Utah Jazz -8
Utah saw their lead on the final playoff spot in the West trimmed to 1.5 games over the Nuggets and two over the Clippers after both teams prevailed Wednesday. That puts more pressure on the Jazz to respond after their disappointing showing against the Hawks. It’s a safe bet that you won’t see too many games where Mitchell and Ingles go a combined two of 18 from beyond the arc. Dallas is playing out the string and trying to figure out who will be here next year and beyond. The Mavericks couldn’t play spoiler in the Big Easy: can they do it at home?
The over is 4-1 in the Jazz’s last 5 vs. a team with a losing straight up record and 22-9 in their last 31 against the Southwest Division. Dallas has seen the over go 5-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up loss and 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record. The teams have gone over the total in four of the last five meetings: look for this one to squeak past it.