Luca’s first home playoff of the year couldn’t have been better. Dallas spent no time licking their wounds after a heavy loss in Game 4. They got out and dominated early and Cruising to Triumph from wire to wire.
They’ll have a chance to close out the series in Utah, but first, here are some stats from Dallas’ 102-77 win in Game 5.
36: Utah first half points
Utah managed only 36 points in the first half. This is the lowest total in the first half of the entire season. It was, if nothing else, a balanced effort as they scored 18 in both the first and second quarters.
It was another stifling defensive effort from Dallas – a defining feature of the Mavericks in this series and a big reason they won two of their three games without Luka Doncic. Dallas consistently kept Utah below second in the league 40.3 attempts from three points per game, and in tonight’s game, Utah fired 3-of-30 from deep. The defensive effort was significant early on because it gave Dallas time to clean up some early turnarounds and messy possessions, but once Dallas settled, the sailing was smooth.
13-11: Luka Doncic beat Utah’s Rudy Gobert
How much Rudy Gobert should show in Jazz attack plans was a question in the series, but one thing that wasn’t in doubt was Gobert’s presence on the board. He managed 10 offensive rebounds in Match 4 alone and was instrumental in giving Utah 22 to 12 points in second-chance points.
Dallas did a much better job stopping those missed shots in Game Five. Luca led the team on the board while Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleiber – who had been out of trouble all night – kept Joubert out of the glass. In fact, Dallas not only won the rebound battle, but also won the second chance points. They brought back 14 of their own while keeping the Utah to just eight. It’s the same winning formula that Dallas used to steal Game 3 in Utah where the Jazz team only had six second chance points.
4: Dallas seat points in three quarters
With Luka back and Spencer Dinwiddie moved to the bench, you’d think Dallas would have some extra firepower in Unit Two. We’ve definitely seen how it happens – Kleber, Bertans, and Green have all had great nights at the series.
But tonight, it was as pure a test of the team’s talent as you can create it; Our top five guys vs our top five guys. Dinwiddie, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss added a few more points off the bench late in the fourth inning and at a totally inappropriate time, but just as Game 3 was a statement game on the bench, this was a standout game for the key players.
When the teams drop dramatically, things tend to slack off. In the fourth quarter with the match postponed, Luca took it upon himself to try to send Hassan Whiteside into early retirement with a sunken attempt at full-back. When Whiteside met him at the edge, there was definitely some contact, but perhaps nothing that would cause concern.
However, when Luca assaulted some tangled arms on his way down, a dashing match ensued between Whiteside and two Mavericks who came to Luca’s aid, Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney Smith. Everyone broke up after exchanging a few words, and when the dust died down, Whiteside got two technical fouls and was sent off, Bullock and Vinnie Smith each received once. In Bullock’s case, the technology is paired with one (very weak) technology from earlier in the game and thus also taken out. Perhaps it was a tactical ejection from Bullock who was Dallas’ Ironman in the series, playing over 40 minutes per game. This is left with a little comparison 31.
Hopefully that will be enough to refresh his legs in the closing game in Utah. Dust may be nothing – a bit of a scramble in the context of a series – but it should be something to watch out for when these teams meet next time, as there’s no love lost between the teams at the best of times, and it seems their patience with one another is growing fast.
19: Luca’s points in the third quarter
Dallas scored 29 points in third, and 19 of those belong to Luka Doncic. It was a crucial quarter for Dallas as Doncic played the full 12 minutes and gave Dallas the break they needed to ensure Utah didn’t stop in the fourth minute.
Their lead in the first half was a good 52-36, but we saw both teams go by. Any hope of it quickly faded when Doncic went out and scored Dallas’ first eight points in the frame, pushing Dallas’ lead to 20 points. Second), Luca’s great third-quarter performance gave Dallas the affirmation he needed for a nice easy win—something that has been difficult to achieve in this series.
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