DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic delighted the crowd in his first home playoff game since a calf injury.
It also frustrated the Utah Jazz.
The young Dallas superstar had 33 points and 13 rebounds while also being thrown onto the court for a hard foul that led to Hassan Whiteside being ejected as the Mavericks defeated the Jazz 102-77 on Monday night to take a 3-game lead. 2 in his first round. Serie.
Doncic made his series debut in Game 4 at Utah, when the Jazz scored the final five points in the final 31 seconds for a one-point victory that tied the series. He never let Game 5 get any closer.
“For his second game, it looks like he’s been playing the entire series,” coach Jason Kidd said. “His conditioning of him, his effort on the defensive end. As long as we’re talking about rebounding, he’s one of the best for us and he did it tonight.”
After the first four games were decided by eight points or fewer, Utah never stood a chance after a nearly six-minute second-quarter scoreless drought fueled a 22-4 Dallas run en route to a lead 52-36 at halftime.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Salt Lake City, with the Jazz regaining their formidable home court advantage but facing the great odds of only 18% of teams winning a series after losing Game 5 when the teams split the top four.
The Mavericks haven’t advanced in the postseason since winning the 2011 championship. Utah is in the playoffs for the sixth straight year, but has yet to get past the second round in that stretch.
Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points and Rudy Gobert added 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Jazz’s lowest-scoring game since losing 50 at Dallas (118-68) on Nov. 14, 2018. They shot 3-of-30 from 3-range. points (10%) and shooting 38% overall.
Donovan Mitchell, who averaged 30 points in the first four games, scored just nine and missed all seven of his 3-pointers before leaving with a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. He will have an MRI on Tuesday.
“They’ve fought extremely hard,” said Mitchell, who is shooting 20% from 3-point range after being well above 40% the past two playoff years. “It’s a lot to continually run equipment off the line, and they’ve done a good job. They made us feel uncomfortable.”
Doncic had already matched all of Utah’s third-quarter production with 19 points when he returned midway through the quarter. Whiteside defied a dunk attempt and threw Doncic onto the court after they tangled.
Whiteside was awarded two technical fouls after shoving Dorian Finney-Smith and going toe-to-toe with Reggie Bullock as coaches on both sides frantically tried to keep the players apart. Finney-Smith and Bullock also received technicals, and Bullock was ejected because it was his second of the game.
“It was nothing,” Doncic said. “It’s the playoffs, man. There will always be attention, but it was nothing. I tried to wet it. It was unsuccessful. These things happen in the playoffs.”
Jalen Brunson, who carried most of Dallas’ offensive load when Doncic was out, scored 24 points. Finney-Smith added 13, and Dwight Powell got the crowd pumping early with his eight points on 4-for-4 shooting in the first.
Doncic, his left calf covered in a black coat under white tights, kept a raucous crowd rolling with several clever moves and high-flying 3-pointers.
The first highlight came at the end of the first half. as Doncic drove all the way to the rim with Gobert guarding him, he stopped and faked the 7-foot-1 snap several times before turning his back on the basket and spinning a reverse layup off the glass and inside when Gobert fouled him.
The exclamation point came in the third quarter, when Doncic hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 74-46 lead. doing a shimmy in front of the fans to his left after the second entered. The 23-year-old sensation scored another 3 for a 79-46 lead just after blocking Clarkson’s shot from the deep
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It’s the second year in a row the Mavericks have a 3-2 lead in the first round. They failed to finish off the Los Angeles Clippers at home in Game 6 last season, losing the series in Game 7 in Los Angeles.
“I don’t even remember that,” Finney-Smith said before smiling. “I don’t even remember last year. No, but we got into a great spot. We just have to run our business in Utah.”
Jazz: After dominating the boards in the first two games, Utah has slowly given up their lead as the series has progressed. The Mavs outrebounded them 49-40. … Bojan Bogdanovic, who had 26 and 25 points in the first two games in Dallas, was 0-for-9 from the field and scored just three points.
Mavericks: The 77 points were the first Dallas allowed this season. … G Frank Ntilikina first became available in the series after being out with an illness other than COVID-19. He did not play.
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