Monday, January 7, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Jazz 100, Mavericks 94
By John Coon / Special to ESPNDallas.com
How it happened: Once again, the Mavericks found a way to conjure up another fourth quarter meltdown.
Utah overcame a listless offensive effort with big fourth-quarter contributions from Alec Burks, Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward. The duo helped spark a 13-0 run over a four-minute stretch that put the Jazz ahead for good in a back-and-forth game.
Dallas started out on the right foot. Chris Kaman was a disruptive force on defense and paced the offense in the first half. He had a team-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting through the first two quarters. Creating a cushion against the Jazz was next to impossible, though, because of Hayward. He countered Kaman by connecting on 3-of-4 3-pointers and scoring 18 of his game-high 27 points to help Utah even it up by halftime.
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The Mavericks kept it up in the third quarter with Elton Brand offering a boost off the bench. Brand had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and collected four rebounds, playing a major part in a 12-3 run that gave Dallas an 80-72 lead just before the end of the quarter.
Everything quickly unraveled in the final six minutes. The Jazz shot the ball well and played aggressive defense to hand the Mavericks yet another frustrating loss. Dirk Nowitzki did his best to halt Utah's comeback, but his 20 points were not enough to do the job.
What it means: Dallas still hasn't figured out how to close out games. The Mavericks were in control for much of the game before the Jazz rallied down the stretch. If Dallas hopes to reverse a slide that has seen it lose 12 of its last 14 games, better defense and better shot selection in the fourth quarter are crucial starting points.
Play of the game: Seldom used Burks made a clutch shot to fuel the Jazz's go-ahead run. After Brand blocked a shot by Al Jefferson, Burks corralled the ball and let it fly as the shot clock drained to zero. He drilled the 3-pointer to tie it at 86-86. The Jazz went ahead a few seconds later on a Hayward layup and never looked back.
Stat of the night: Burks scored a season-high 13 points -- including eight in the fourth quarter -- to pace the Jazz comeback. The second-year guard has been buried on Utah's bench at times this season, but he looked like a star against a sagging Dallas defense.