Doncic scores 33, Mavericks rout Jazz to take 3-2 lead; Mitchell injures hamstring
In Game 4, the Jazz played their best game of the playoffs and one of their best of the season: They had a focused defensive effort, role players stepped up with Bojan Bogdanovic playing great defense and Jordan Clarkson scoring efficiently, and with the game on the line Donovan Mitchell found Rudy Gobert with the game-winning lob pass.
In Game 5, it was the Mavericks’ turn to play their best game of the playoffs.
Luka Doncic looked like his vintage self with 33 points and 13 rebounds, Jalen Brunson added 24, the Mavericks defense held the Jazz to an 86.7 offensive rating, Dallas played with more energy, and by the middle of the second quarter the game was out of reach. Everything worked for the Mavericks.
Dallas went on to win 102-77 and take a 3-2 lead in the series, which now shifts back to Salt Lake City for Game 6 on Thursday.
Utah’s chances of forcing a Game 7 may hinge on the left hamstring of Donovan Mitchell, which tightened up on him during the game and forced him to the locker room at one point. He will have an MRI on Tuesday back in Salt Lake City, and while the Jazz were not talking about his status for Game 6, Mitchell said he was a competitor and would be out there.
Dallas focused on getting more 3s up in Game 5 and succeeded in taking 43, although they only hit 12 (27.9%). However, that was much better than Utah going 3-of-30 on 3-pointers in the game. That poor shooting was Utah’s most significant issue on the night.
The game seemed to sum up the Jazz season in one fundamental way — after having arguably their best performance of the season, they came out days later in the biggest game of the season and were flat. This team has been inconsistent with its focus and execution all season, and Monday was one of those off days. The Mavericks were more aggressive, more physical, and the Jazz did not show any fight pushing back (except for one little kerfuffle Hassan Whiteside was in).
As evidence of that aggressiveness, the smaller Mavericks— who play five-out and rarely use a traditional center — outrebounded the Jazz, 49-40.
Dallas’ highest gear is much higher than Utah’s, which is a concern for the Jazz as the Mavs need just one more win to advance. Normally closeout games bring out the best in the team that is down; they are fighting for their season. The Jazz will need to because the Mavericks seem to have found their stride.
But will Utah bring that fight, or will they roll over again in Game 6? It may depend on how Michell’s leg is feeling.