Dallas • Ready or not, aim, fire.
Less than a week after setting a franchise record for 3-points attempt in a game, the Utah Jazz were at it again Friday night in Big D, heaving up 35 would-be triples — but not hitting nearly enough of them to avoid a 103-81 beatdown at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Marvin Williams got things going early, hitting on his first four attempts from 3 in the opening quarter. By the end of the game, Trey Burke had launched nine of his own, Gordon Hayward had tossed up five, and backup guard Brandon Rush had found time to shoot six of in less than 14 minutes on the floor.
The trouble was not necessarily the shots themselves, but actually making them.
“We’ve been shooting a ton of 3s all year,” said Williams, who has moved into a stretch-four position in his second season in Utah. “It’s not your typical Utah Jazz basketball to shoot that many 3-pointers, but it’s not very typical to play a smaller guy at the four-position as well. We’ve been doing things a little different this year, so that doesn’t surprise me. We’ve got guys who can make shots; we’re just not making them right now.”
While Williams finished 5-for-8 from downtown, the rest of the Jazz connected on just 7 of their 27 attempts.
After finding their range during the last six weeks of the season, the Jazz have cooled off from deep. Over their last four games, the Jazz are shooting under 31 percent from 3.
“We had some good looks. That’s what they were giving up,” said Hayward, who went 1-for-5 from 3 and finished with eight points. “They were showing on a lot of pick-and-rolls and we had some nice swings for some 3s. We just didn’t knock them down.”
With the loss, the Jazz dropped to 16-33 on the year and hey now find themselves in their first four-game losing streak since early December, with a game against the defending champion Heat on Saturday night.
“It’s definitely been a step back,” said Hayward. “We were rolling a little bit there. We’ve taken just a little bit of a step backward, but hopefully we can move forward from this.”
The Jazz jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter, but the Mavericks closed out the period on a 14-2 run to recapture the lead. In the second quarter, Utah got within one point before Dallas used a 17-3 run over about a six minutes span to take a 15-point lead.
Williams, coming off a season-high 23 point night earlier this week against Toronto, scored 21 points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half.
“We changed our whole defense,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. “We played zone whenever we could. The matchup was hard and they were doing some things to loosen him up. We had to change. We did, and the guy did a good job with it. A guy’s not going to make every shot — even though it seemed like was going to at the beginning.”
With the Jazz’s hot hand neutralized, Utah couldn’t find a scorer to step take over. Burke (13) and Richard Jefferson (10) were the only other Jazz scores in double figures.
Throughout the night, Dallas proved to be not only the more talented team, but also the harder working team as well.
“One thing we can’t afford to do against anybody right now where we are as a team, we can’t have guys out work us,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “And I thought they out worked us tonight.”
The Mavericks outrebounded the Jazz 48-37, leading to a 15-6 advantage in second-chance points. And Dallas found its way to the basket more often, scoring 38 points in the paint to the Jazz’s 18.
“Every loose ball, they got to it. They got to way more offensive rebounds than we got to,” Williams said. “And it seemed like every time they made a play like that, they hit a big shot, a 3 or an and-one. It kind of takes the wind out of your sails when you work that hard defensively and then give up an offensive rebound for a 3.”
Dallas guard Monta Ellis scored a game-high 22 points before leaving with a hamstring injury. All-Star Dirk Nowitzki dropped in 20 of his own, as the Mavs hit on 47 percent of their field goals.
And from 3? They took fewer than the Jazz (18), but hit nearly as many (10).
So by the end, the Jazz were reliant on the shot just to try to get back in the game.