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A second-half run gave momentary life to the Utah Jazz in a Game 3 playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night.
It was a five-out, small-ball lineup with Eric Paschall at the center position that sparked an energetic run that cut what was a 17-point Dallas lead down to a single point midway through the fourth quarter.
The Jazz tried playing small-ball a few times with varying degrees of success this season and only gave it a try in Game 3 when their backs seemed to be against a wall. But since they had momentary success with it against the Mavericks, will they try it again?
“It’s tough because you want to keep your bigs on the floor,” Mike Conley said after the loss. “That’s who we are. We’ve built our team around our bigs and pick-and-roll and when teams try to take that away by spacing us out and driving and kicking, it becomes a cat-and-mouse game. Do we want to go small? Do we want to change it up? It’s tough.”
It’s certainly a difficult decision to take a three-time Defensive Player of the Year off the court during critical points of a playoff game, but it seems that the Jazz are going to be considering it.
“That’s something that we’ll look to capitalize on as the series moves on,” Donovan Mitchell said, noting that the spacing and speed of the small lineup gave the Jazz an advantage. “We found something unique that we haven’t really done and we’ll watch the film.”
So how does Rudy Gobert feel about that?
“I thought it was great, thought it was great to give them different looks,” Gobert said of the lineup with Paschall at the five. “It was good for us to see how they’re going to defend against five-out and attack against us switching one through five.”
So it seems there is a strong possibility the Jazz are going to look to take the best parts of what they were able to do in the second half of Game 3 and use it in the rest of this series.
New with the Jazz
Stat of the week
Following Thursday night’s Mavericks win over the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell (32.7 points per game) and Jalen Brunson (32 ppg) rank second and third respectively in scoring in the NBA playoffs behind Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (33 ppg).
From the archives
This week in Jazz history
On April 22, 2019, the Utah Jazz avoided being swept by the Houston Rockets in the playoffs by winning Game 4 of a first-round series. Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points in the Jazz’s lone win against the Rockets.
- How many times will the Jazz be undone by a role player in the playoffs? (Deseret News)
- Can the Utah Jazz chase away their playoff ghosts? (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Jazz pushed to the brink, making the next game a defining one for this roster (The Athletic)
- After Game 3 loss, Jazz searching for moral victories (KSL.com)
Around the league
Suns star Devin Booker could miss 2 to 3 weeks with hamstring injury.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton is out two weeks with MCL sprain.
Finalists for every NBA award are in.
Up next: Playoffs — Round 1
April 23 | 2:30 p.m. | Game 4 | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | TNT
April 25 | 7:30 p.m. | Game 5 | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | TNT
April 28 | TBD | Game 6 if necessary | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | TBD