In his quiet and confident way, Utah Jazz guard and sixth-man Jordan Clarkson said Friday that all is not lost for the club after its shoddy on-ball and perimeter defense was exposed once again by Dallas in Game 3 Thursday, a win that gave the Mavericks a 2-1 lead in the series.

“All of us are focused. I don’t think any of us are down,” Clarkson said after the Jazz practiced at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus just south of downtown. “We haven’t lost confidence or anything. I think our confidence is where it needs to be.”

Still, Clarkson acknowledged, Game 4 on Saturday (2:30 p.m. MDT) at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City “is a must-win” and the reeling Jazz have to “leave it all on the floor” to avoid going back to Big D in a 3-1 deficit.

Clarkson said the Jazz treat every playoff game as a must-win, but also admitted a third-straight loss in the series after Utah won the opener in Dallas a week ago will be difficult to overcome.

“All of us are focused. I don’t think any of us are down. We haven’t lost confidence or anything. I think our confidence is where it needs to be.” — Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson

“It is not like we coming out here and not putting in (the) effort to do something,” he said. “Those guys are playing well and doing a good job of doing things right now, and that is a credit to those guys. We gotta figure out the adjustments and kinda knock them off what they doing. … We gotta turn it around and man-up.”

Jazz reserve center and power forward Eric Paschall, who sparked a Jazz rally in the third quarter when coach Quin Snyder turned to a “small-ball lineup” to combat the way Dallas was exploiting the Jazz’s lack of on-ball perimeter defense, echoed Clarkson’s sentiments.

Game 4 is not an elimination game, but it sure feels like one.

“I think what JC said hit it on the head, (that) every game is a must-win,” Paschall said. “You can’t get too high, can’t get too low. So, every game is a must-win. We gotta stay in that head space and compete every night.”

Meanwhile Friday, before the Mavericks practiced at Vivint Arena, coach Jason Kidd and injured star Luka Doncic met with reporters and discussed Doncic’s availability for Game 4 after he missed the first three games with a left calf strain.

Asked for a “daily Luka update,” Kidd joked that Doncic “did great in film session” at the hotel before the team arrived at the arena. 

“He’s in good spirits. We will go through shootaround here and see how he feels after.”

When asked if he’s optimistic that Doncic will play for the first time in the series on Saturday, Kidd remained coy.

“Optimistic? That’s a good word. I think when you look at what he’s doing up to this point, he’s going in the right direction. He is listening to the medical (people). He is doing all the work and there haven’t been any setbacks. We will see how it goes today.”

Before he donned a white practice jersey that is usually worn by the starters, Doncic said he would practice Friday “and see how it feels. I think after practice we will know if I will play or not.”

He said he was feeling no pain or discomfort. Asked if he felt like he could have played Thursday, he said: “I feel like I could play every game, but the risk was too much.”

Kidd said where the series stands now, with the Mavericks having gone 2-1 without their best player, has no bearing on whether Doncic will play or not.

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Back at the Jazz practice facility, reporters were allowed in after practice had ended to watch players work on their individual games. Jazz owners Ryan Smith and Dwyane Wade and CEO of Utah Jazz Basketball Danny Ainge were in attendance, and Wade even went out on one of the practice courts and coached up Jazz reserve Juancho Hernangomez on his defensive stances.

Clarkson said in practice “nobody (was) holding their heads down” and the focus was on making adjustments from the last game and figuring out “what we have to do to put ourselves in position to win.”

If the Jazz worked more on the five-out attack with Paschall relieving Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside at center that helped them cut a 17-point Mavericks lead to one midway through the fourth quarter, they weren’t tipping their hand.

They worked on “just our usual stuff and going over our usual stuff,” Paschall said. “That’s pretty much it.”

Generally, Paschall and Clarkson acknowledged that offense isn’t the Jazz’s primary concern heading into Game 4. It is stopping the Mavericks’ five-out attack and blossoming star Jalen Brunson, whether Doncic plays or not.

“We gotta keep our man in front, and rotate, and have each other’s back,” Clarkson said. “That’s what it comes down to, especially in the playoffs.”

Paschall said he doesn’t know if he will play more Saturday, but vows to be ready when his number is called.

“If coach puts me out there I am going to give it my all,” he said. “It is a physical game. I feel like that is my type of game, so (I will) just leave it all out there when I am out there.”

Paschall said he brings another element to the game that folks might not know about. He’s apparently making up for the trash-talking void that occurred when Joe Ingles was traded.

“Yeah, they were talking trash. So I was like, ‘All right, you guys want to talk trash? I can do that very well as well,’” he said. “So it is like, if they want to talk trash, I can do that, too. And it is nothing personal toward them, it is how the game goes. If it has to be, it has to be.”