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Jazz shootaround: Dirk is back, so Jazz expect Mavs to be a handful

Published January 21, 2017 1:07 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dallas • Just like they were going into games last week against the Pistons, Magic and Suns, the Jazz are wary of the Dallas Mavericks.

Those Jazz opponent are all under the .500 mark, and that's what Quin Snyder finds worrisome.

"They're playing a lot better than their record indicates," the Jazz coach said following Friday's shootaround here. "They're a unique team offensively. They play small, they spread you out and make shots from the perimeter. They can be difficult to guard."

The Jazz are statistically the best defensive team in basketball. At the same time, they have had issues in the past dealing with teams that play like the Mavericks.

Dallas lost on Thursday to the Miami Heat, but the Mavs have won three of their last four games overall. How has a 14-28 team begun to find its legs? A return to health is one thing, as Dirk Nowitzki is back in the lineup.

Going small is another, with Nowitzki at center, Harrison Barnes at power forward and the three guard lineup of Wes Matthews, Deron Williams and Seth Curry.

Assuming that's the five that lines up against the Jazz tonight, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors could have a difficult time chasing guys on the perimeter. That means the Jazz will have to play to their strengths offensively, all the while figuring out a way to shut the 3-point line off at the other end.

"We look at Dallas as a good team," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "They have a lot of shooters, and they make the shots that they take. It's a dangerous team."

Utah is 27-16 entering tonight, and sitting in the fifth spot of the Western Conference. With the Los Angeles Clippers losing last night, Utah could draw within a game of the fourth spot with a win tonight.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jazz are trying to win their fifth consecutive game, which would be a season high. They have won four straight games four different times.

— Tony Jones






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