When a 1-12 team visits a 8-4 team in the NBA, it isn’t necessarily expected to be a competitive game, but when the 1-12 team falls behind by 24 points at the halftime break, that is a recipe for disaster. However, the Utah Jazz found themselves in that exact predicament on Friday night, and they were able to battle to make the game reasonably competitive before falling at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, 103-93.
The Mavs grabbed the aforementioned 24-point lead at 58-34 by halftime, and they were led by big nights from Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert. Ellis has been absolutely tremendous this season (contrary to most people’s feelings about the signing before the year began), and that continued on Friday when he had 26 points. The field goal shooting of Ellis (8 of 19) wasn’t encouraging, but he got to the free throw line 10 times and added 6 assists to improve his efficiency.
As for Dalembert, the big man had one of his best games of the young season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. The double-double is already cause enough for praise of Dalembert, but the fact that he made all 8 of his field goal attempts makes this performance stand out for the big man. Dallas will need him to play “big” moving forward, and this is a good start.
Utah’s battle to get back in the game was pulsed by a nice performance from their bench. Marvin Williams (the former #2 overall pick) scored 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, and Jeremy Evans had an incredibly efficient 14 points on 7 shot attempts. The Jazz starters were soundly destroyed by Dallas (all performed worse than a -11 while on the court), but the fact that their depth improved things is a good sign for them moving forward.
It’s going to be an incredibly long season for the Jazz, but maybe they can take some positivity from their second half surge here.