LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP)The short-handed Dallas Mavericks rallied from a 22-point deficit in the second half to stun the Utah Jazz 122-114 on Monday.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 27 points and Seth Curry added 22. Boban Marjanovic had 20 points and nine rebounds. It was the biggest comeback for the Mavericks since February 2016 and the win means Dallas still has a slim shot at earning the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
”I loved the comeback,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ”I love winning. I hate losing. I love winning for the feeling that our guys get from doing something together.”
Dallas won despite playing without stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, who were both resting because of nagging injuries. Utah was playing without star Donovan Mitchell and coach Quin Snyder played backups for much of the game to rest his starters.
Utah has lost three straight games and five of seven in the Florida bubble. Snyder said his usual rotation players ”came out really ready to play” and then the backups were a mixed bag. Snyder added it was important to get the backups meaningful playing time as he evaluates who can help the team in the playoffs.
”We’re looking to play well,” Snyder said. ”Sometimes playing well allows you to win the game. Sometimes you play well and the other team plays better.”
The Mavericks trailed 78-56 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter after Utah’s Emmanuel Mudiay made a 3-pointer. They slowly rallied throughout the third quarter and then scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to take a 101-100 lead with about eight minutes left.
Curry said the Mavericks weren’t concerned about who was playing and who wasn’t.
”Whoever we play, that’s who we play,” Curry said. ”We’re focusing on trying to get the best health possible and the best shape and get our rhythm the best for the first round.
Dallas outscored Utah 34-14 in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks shot 12 of 24 (50 percent) from 3-point range.
Utah was led by Jordan Clarkson, who scored 18 points. Rayjon Tucker scored 17 points off the bench. Georges Niang, who finished with 13 points and made all four of his 3-point attempts, said he wasn’t concerned about the three-game losing streak.
”I don’t think you need to be worried about having momentum going into the playoffs,” Niang said. ”These guys know the magnitude of the playoffs and what it means to be in the playoffs.”
Doncic is dealing with a right ankle injury while Porzingis has an injured left knee. Dorian Finney-Smith also missed the game to rest a left hip strain. All three played in a win against Milwaukee on Saturday.
”Three overtime games in five games, minutes really have stacked up for really those two guys and Dorian,” Carlisle said before the game.
Utah’s Mitchell also didn’t play because of a leg injury. Carlisle said the Jazz were likely in a similar situation to the Mavericks.
”They went to double overtime two days ago with Denver,” Carlisle said. ”And this is our first cluster of back-to-back games so managing that is also a part of it. That’s really the reasoning. Other than that, (Porzingis) and Luka are healthy.”
Mavericks: Rookie guard Josh Reaves scored his first career points in the third quarter. He finished with four points. Reaves played in college at Penn State.
Jazz: Utah shot 13 of 24 (54%) from 3-point range in the first half.
Mavericks: Play the Blazers on Tuesday.
Jazz: Play the Spurs on Thursday.
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