Dallas Mavericks Helped To Even Against Jazz By Brunson And Maxi Kleber


The formula the Dallas Mavericks used to pull off their series-evening 110-104 win in Monday’s Game 2 felt painfully familiar to the Utah Jazz.

Without injured superstar Luka Doncic, the Mavs opened the floor by playing a five-out offense, consistently exploiting the Jazz’s shoddy perimeter defense to create a plethora of open 3-point looks. It was a script quite similar to the one that the LA Clippers used last year to reel off four straight wins after losing Kawhi Leonard to a torn ACL, eliminating the Jazz in the second round.

“The good thing is it’s Game 2,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “It’s not Game 6 with the series on the line. We’ve got a lot of time to watch the film, to adjust, all of us individually and collectively to see the things we can do better and go from there.”

Utah Needs To Solve The Problems Caused By The Dallas Mavericks

One of the primary problems the Jazz need to solve is figuring out whether anybody on the roster is capable of staying in front of Dallas Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson. He had a career night with 41 points and five assists, becoming the first player in franchise history to score that many points without committing a turnover in a playoff game.

The constant penetration of Dallas Mavericks off the dribble by Brunson and guard Spencer Dinwiddie played a major role in the Mavs breaking the franchise postseason record by making 22 3s on 47 attempts. Time after time, Gobert was forced to retreat into the paint to protect the rim, leading to kick-out passes that led to wide-open 3s. The biggest beneficiary was Mavs reserve center Maxi Kleber, who scored 25 points on 8-of-11 3-point shooting.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, 17 of the Mavs’ made 3s were uncontested, the most by any team over the past 10 postseasons. That included seven of Kleber‘s eight 3s, a potentially series-shifting performance for a shooter who had been in an extended slump.

“Every time I was open, I shot the ball,” Kleber said. “We analyzed how they play defense and where the looks are coming from. You’ve got to be ready to shoot and just let it fly.”

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