Dallas — Utah's offense was a two-man show Friday during a 116-101 loss to the Mavericks.
Center Al Jefferson and power forward Paul Millsap combined for 65 percent of the shot attempts by the Jazz's starting unit. Gordon Hayward (3 of 6), Raja Bell (3 of 4) and Devin Harris shot well (4 of 7) when they released the ball. But they went through long stretches where they either fed Millsap and Jefferson or were unable to get open looks, and Utah's offense often looked cluttered and stagnant.
Nice game by Enes Kanter, who scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in just 12 minutes, 39 seconds. All of the stats came during the second half — Kanter didn't leave the bench in the first.
After passing up shots throughout the first half, Hayward stepped up in the second. Six of his eight points came after the break, and he was more active once the ball touched his hands.
Millsap went into beast mode during the third quarter. He scored 13 of his team-high 20 points, knocked down 4 of 5 field goals, hit all five of his free throw attempts and grabbed four rebounds. Yet another period this season when Millsap dug in, stepped up and put the Jazz on his back. Utah pulled within two points late in the quarter thanks to his work.
The Jazz scored just 39 points in the second and fourth quarters combined. Dallas scored at least 28 points in all four quarters.
Lamar Odom and Rodrigue Beaubois set season-highs in points. Odom finished with 19, with 12 coming in the second half. Beaubois was the best player on the court for most of the night. He scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, hit 3 of 5 3-pointers, grabbed six rebounds, dished out seven assists and recorded four blocks in 35:35. Beaubois easily burned the Jazz and consistently outplayed Harris.
Harris started strong, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first half, while recording three assists and nailing two 3s. He wasn't the same player after halftime. While Beaubois continued to fire away, Harris disappeared. He only took one shot, committed three fouls, turned the ball over once and failed to score a point. Backup Earl Watson (12:55) played more than Harris (8:06), and Utah was outscored 28-19 during the fourth quarter.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said his team didn't get blown out down the stretch but the scoreboard said Utah did. After the Jazz fought back to pull within 82-80 with 1:15 left in the third quarter, the Mavericks unleashed a 28-9 run. Everyone from Beaubois and Jason Terry to Ian Mahinmi and Odom left a mark. By the time the blitz was over, Utah was down 110-89 with 3:39 to go and it was garbage time for the Jazz.
Jefferson never looked 100 percent and acknowledged before tipoff he was playing through pain. Jefferson started pregame warmups by testing out his ankle with strength and conditioning coach Mark McKown. After passing his first mark, Jefferson began working with player development coach Michael Sanders in the post. With Sanders pushing him and McKown pumping him up, Jefferson soon found a groove. Before backing down and scoring on Sanders, Jefferson smiled and said to Kanter, "Big Turkey: This is how you gotta do it."
A lot of pregame locker room talk about the Jazz's grassroots effort to get Jeremy Evans in the NBA All-Star dunk contest. Watson went so far as to mention the word "viral."
Mavs assistant Darrell Armstrong was a pregame jokester with ex-Dallas players Josh Howard and Harris, as well as Dallas native C.J. Miles. Armstrong to Harris: "Good to see you making some shots. Just don't hit any against us."
Howard has struggled since returning to the lineup. He was 2 of 8 for four points against the Mavs and is clearly searching for his rhythm off the bench.
Hayward led the Jazz in assists (six).
Utah only dished out 20 assists on 39 made field goals.
Brian T. Smith