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Utah Jazz show fight but fall to Mavs, 94-91

Published January 21, 2012 11:25 pm

Utah gives defending champ Dallas all it can handle, until the end.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Al Jefferson's eyes burned. His voice was low and deep, frustrated and tense.

The Jazz had again come close. Utah had again showed fight — the type of grit, strength and backbone it's supposed to take young teams years to develop.

The Jazz just didn't deliver a tough victory.

Despite clawing back from an 11-point third-quarter deficit and sticking up for each other several times during a tense game, Utah fell 94-91 to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena before a sellout crowd of 19,911.

"For sure we've got fight," said Jefferson, whose co-game high 22 points led the Jazz (9-5). "We've just got to get that reputation around the league we're not going to be pushed over, we're not going to be disrespected.

"We're going to be out there and we're going to fight and we're going to fight to the end. … Dallas might have won the game, but they know they've been in a fight."

The battle was an old-school square-off that would've made former Utah coach Jerry Sloan proud.

Jazz forward Derrick Favors went one-on-one with Dirk Nowitzki, angering the 2011 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player to the point that he slammed the ball against the hardwood.

The 20-year-old Favors said he was dealing with "a lot of emotions."

So was 32-year-old Utah guard Earl Watson, who spent several minutes postgame hunched in a chair and staring into dead space with his back turned to the media.

The 11-year veteran also had Favors' back. Watson attempted to slam the ball out of Nowitzki's hands after he tangled with Favors, earning a technical foul for the move.

Favors was ejected 32 seconds later after throwing the ball into the stands.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin cautioned that his unproven team has to be "smarter" and pick its spots. But two games after Utah guard Raja Bell said his squad was at its best when it has some "dog" in it, the Jazz threw their biggest punch of the season. Just 14 games into a year that began with low expectations, Utah's trying to prove that it's a contender.

"It's our teammate. It's basically my brother," said Jazz forward C.J. Miles, when asked about Utah's players standing up for each other. "We are with each other everyday. We love each other and we go out and play hard for each other and that is why we are starting to get better, because guys really start to trust each other and believe in each other."

Led by Shawn Marion's 22 points, the Mavericks (9-7) displayed their own inner strength. Dallas cooled its collective temper down the stretch, then pulled away after Jason Terry drilled a 3-pointer with 2:26 to go.

"It's as good a win as we have had all year for a lot of reasons. … This is as loud a place [as there is]," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

Everyone from Bell to Devin Harris said the Jazz's recent late-game losses against proven Western Conference teams in the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas stings. But during a defeat that saw Utah's three-game winning streak come to an end, all that stood out was the fight.

The Jazz are finding their identity. And they're not afraid to throw a punch.

"Nobody here likes to get pushed around, and so we stand up when you need to," Bell said. "And that's important. Every team's gotta have a backbone like that — any good team, at least." —

Storylines

R In short • The Jazz come back from an 11-point deficit but fail to put a tough game away.

Key stat • Utah shoots just 38.8 percent from the field.

Key moment • Dallas' Jason Terry drills a late 3 to make it 90-87 Mavs. Mavs 94, Jazz 91

FG FT Reb

Dallas Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Marion 33:21 10-17 2-4 0-7 3 2 22

Nowizki 37:28 5-12 2-2 1-5 1 1 12

Haywd 28:44 1-1 4-4 0-5 3 3 6

Kidd 34:04 1-4 0-0 1-5 11 2 2

West 15:57 4-5 0-1 0-3 0 3 8

Mahinmi 19:16 3-4 0-0 1-4 1 1 6

Odom 20:05 4-5 2-2 1-1 1 2 11

Terry 30:30 3-14 2-2 0-1 1 3 10

Cardinal 2:27 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Beabois 18:09 6-9 3-4 0-2 2 2 17

Totals 240:01 37-71 15-19 4-33 23 20 94

Percentages: FG .521, FT .789. 3-Point Goals: 5-20, .250 (Beaubois 2-4, Terry 2-10, Odom 1-1, Marion 0-1, Kidd 0-2, Nowitzki 0-2). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 16 (18 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Beaubois 2, Kidd, Mahinmi, Marion, Odom). Turnovers: 15 (Kidd 6, Marion 4, Terry 2, Beaubois, Haywood, Nowitzki). Steals: 4 (Haywood, Mahinmi, Marion, Odom). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 8:49 second; Nowitzki, 12:00 third.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 26:46 4-9 1-2 0-3 1 1 9

Millsap 39:48 6-16 4-4 8-13 2 4 16

Jeffersn 32:21 8-18 6-8 2-9 2 1 22

Harris 23:34 0-7 1-1 0-2 2 1 1

Bell 26:27 2-6 2-2 0-2 0 3 7

Miles 21:31 5-11 6-6 1-3 1 2 17

Watson 24:26 2-4 1-1 0-2 7 1 5

Burks 21:33 3-6 3-3 1-1 0 2 10

Favors 10:10 1-1 0-0 0-2 1 2 2

Kanter 13:24 0-2 2-2 3-7 0 2 2

Totals 240:00 31-80 26-29 15-44 16 19 91

Percentages: FG .388, FT .897. 3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (Burks 1-1, Miles 1-2, Bell 1-3, Millsap 0-1, Hayward 0-2, Harris 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 13 (8 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Hayward, Millsap). Turnovers: 12 (Favors 4, Millsap 2, Bell, Burks, Harris, Hayward, Kanter, Watson). Steals: 11 (Hayward 4, Jefferson 2, Miles 2, Harris, Millsap, Watson). Technical Fouls: Watson, 0:56.9 third; Favors, 0:24.8 third. Ejections: Favors, 0:24 third.

Dallas 25 34 12 23 — 94

Utah 22 28 21 20 — 91

Attendance • 19,911

Time • 2:23.

Officials • Mike Callahan, Matt Boland, Eli Roe.