Utah Jazz drop second preseason game, 111-101 to Mavericks

Smallball lineup has some early success defensively, while rookie Jared Butler impresses again.

Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Green (8) goes up for a shot as Utah Jazz forward Eric Paschall (0) defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Jazz's Jordan Clarkson (00) and Royce O'Neale (23) watch. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gay all sat out Wednesday night in Dallas.

Meanwhile, Royce O’Neale and Jordan Clarkson played only the first half.

So clearly, coach Quin Snyder was not too concerned with the Utah Jazz’s ultimate result in their second preseason game (a 111-101 loss to the Mavericks, for the record).

Which isn’t to say there was nothing worthwhile to be gleaned from the effort.

For starters, with the team’s two primary big men missing the game, Snyder decided to deploy a smallball lineup to begin the game, with Eric Paschall at the five, flanked by O’Neale, Miye Oni, Clarkson and Trent Forrest.

That group — and the wonky rotations that followed — had some success early on, as they primarily switched across the board, then threw in some wrinkles with periodic weakside double-teams that swarmed the ball and had success stripping it, to the tune of five Mavs turnovers in the opening period.

The second quarter, however, saw Dallas demonstrate increasing ability to beat defenders off the dribble, get into the lane, and finish at the rim. The Mavericks racked up 39 points in the quarter.

The other big development was the continued … well, development of rookie guard Jared Butler.

As one of the team’s primary reserves on the night, thanks to the depleted roster, he got plenty of opportunities to show what he can do, and the moment did not look too big for him.

On one early occasion, he put Dallas big man Kristaps Porzingis in the spin cycle, then finished at the rim. Late in the second quarter, he got into the lane, went into the air, found his path to the basket blockaded, then casually dropped it off behind to a cutting Paschall.

He had a team-high 13 points at halftime.

In the second half, the inexperience showed a bit, as he increasingly tried to force things off the dribble — resulting in some silly turnovers, including one where he simply got out of control and lost the ball out of bounds. Meanwhile, he also had a few occasions where he had trouble getting good shots off against lengthy defenders.

Butler finished with 22 points and four assists, while shooting 9 of 18 overall and 3 of 7 from deep. O’Neale added 12 points and eight rebounds in just 16:53 of action. Paschall totaled 13 points but just three rebounds, and shot 1 of 6 from deep. Elijah Hughes had 11 points and Udoka Azubuike 14 rebounds off the bench.

The Jazz will close out their preseason slate with a pair of games next week at Vivint Arena. They will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, and the Milwaukee Bucks next Wednesday.