2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference: #4 Dallas Mavericks vs #5 Utah Jazz
Tale of the Tape:
|108 (24th)||Points Per Game||113.6 (7th)|
|104.7 (2nd)||Points Allowed Per Game||107.6 (10th)|
|29-12 at home||Home/Away Record||20-21 on the road|
|30th||Pace of Play||22nd|
|T-14th||Off Efficiency Rating||T-1st|
|6th||Def Efficiency Rating||10th|
Can’t Miss Offer From Caesars
- Luka Doncic, PG: 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.2 SPG
- Jalen Brunson, PG: 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 37.3% 3PM
- Dorian Finney-Smith, PF: 11.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG
- Donovan Mitchell, SG: 25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG
- Rudy Gobert, C: 15.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 2.1 BPG, 71.3% FG
- Bojan Bogdanovic, SF: 18.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 38.7% 3PT
- Luka Doncic, Dallas: Calf (Questionable)
- Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas: Foot (out)
- Trent Forrest, Utah: Foot (Out)
Jazz win the series in six games (*expecting Doncic to miss 2-3 games)
- Obviously, a prediction for this series hinges on the health of Dallas’ star Luka Doncic. Doncic sprained his calf in the regular-season finale and has begun receiving treatment, but there is not yet a full timetable for his return. Even if Doncic is able to get back on the court, it would be highly unlikely that he would be 100%, which makes this a major uphill climb for the Mavericks.
- Dallas does have one of the better defenses in the league, which they will certainly be relying on to pull out some wins, but the Jazz come in as one of the best offensive teams in the league, and they have Gobert, who is a major matchup problem for Dallas. Dwight Powell might be the only player on the roster who can really, truly guard him, but, as you can see from the numbers above, the Jazz don’t really like to run their offense through Gobert and make him the focal point. I think they might have to this series.
- This leads us to the other story of the Jazz’s inability to seem to mesh this season. They’ve been uneven of late and star Donovan Mitchell doesn’t seem entirely happy, so it’s possible that a matchup against a defensive team that frustrates you and toys with your rhythm is not an ideal setup for Utah. And, if Doncic were healthy, that would absolutely be the case, but a window is open for Utah and the playoffs have a way of pushing players to focus on what’s happening on the court. I expect Mitchell and the Jazz to understand the opportunity that’s in front of them and come out playing near the top of their game.
- I expect Doncic to miss two to three games, which likely means that Dallas will play a smaller/faster lineup and try to limit the usefulness of Gobert, who is at his best defending inside. That will mean more minutes for stretch forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber. However, Kleber has not been great for Dallas this year, and if they use him to force Gobert out of the paint, he’ll need to hit shots, which he hasn’t done lately, shooting 22.6 percent from beyond the arc in his last 21 games and also coming into this game hurt as well.
- Without Doncic, I simply don’t think Dallas stands much of a chance. They just won’t score enough. I can see them winning one game on the back of their defense and some hot shooting from Jalen Brunson, and then they’ll certainly be able to squeak out at least one win when Doncic returns, even if he’s not 100%, but until we have a firm idea of just how long he’s going to be out, it’s hard to really side with Dallas here.