Dallas • Cue the theme music, run the credits. Sunday night was time for happy families to gather around the TV and watch another episode of something they’ve come to count on for prime-time torture.
The Jazz blew a lead, then the Mavericks nearly did, but there was no twist. Through a combination of bad play, bad timing and bad luck, the Jazz lost 113-108, extending their road losing streak to nine games, the longest such run since 1981-82, when a team led by Adrian Dantley and Darrell Griffith lost 17 straight road games from November to February.
History becomes a lot easier to make than the playoffs when you can’t stop losing.
After Utah (34-36) tied the game 69-69 on an Al Jefferson hook shot in the third quarter, the Mavericks went on a 20-2 run. The Jazz closed the game on a 21-9 run, including 15 points in the final 1:15, to cut the deficit to three with seven seconds remaining. But the result was the same as two nights earlier in San Antonio, and two nights before that in Houston: a loss. The effect was no different than it’s been throughout the last two months: The playoffs slipped further out of reach.
“Sometimes in games we start off bad and finish well,” Jefferson said, “sometimes we start off well, finish bad. Try to keep it consistent for 48 minutes.”
With the loss, the Jazz fell into a tie with the Mavericks for ninth place in the Western Confrence. The teams sit two full games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth.
The Jazz hold the tiebreaker over both teams.
Enes Kanter scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Jazz, and Jefferson and Paul Millsap both contributed 15. However, the Jazz got in foul trouble early in the third quarter and couldn’t keep up in what proved to be the pivotal period.
Mike James, the 37-year-old point guard, scored 12 of his season-high 19 points in the quarter while directing a Dallas offense that shot 60 percent from the field and was 7-for-8 from the line.
After trailing just 53-52 at halftime, the Jazz were outscored 30-19 in the third period. They did not score a field goal from the 3:16 mark in the third until 9:38 remained in the fourth.
“We couldn’t make a basket,” Tyrone Corbin said. “We made a couple of defensive mistakes and they made a couple of baskets. We struggled a little bit.”
Then, as the Jazz attempted to get a comeback together, peculiarity struck. Derrick Favors fouled Shawn Marion as he attempted a shot and Enes Kanter blocked the ball into the seats. But Kanter was called for basket interference because he grabbed the rim before blocking the shot, meaning the basket counted. Kanter received a technical foul for the play, and Tyrone Corbin was called for a technical for arguing.Next Page »