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Dallas regains home-court advantage

by The Associated Press | April 22, 2022 at 2:59 a.m.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends against Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Jalen Brunson was lying flat and still, watching his Dallas teammates build a 17-point lead before halftime on the monitor in the locker room.

"I saw how hard the team was playing when I was laying back there," Brunson said. "It gave me a little mojo to come back out there and do my thing."

Brunson scored 31 points playing with a bruised back and the Mavericks -- without the injured Luka Doncic -- beat the Utah Jazz 126-118 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

"We're all on the same page," Brunson said. "We're all clicking. We're all talking and communicating."

Dallas Coach Jason Kidd isn't satisfied with the road win and the series advantage.

"I just told the guys we haven't done anything," Kidd said. "They won at our place and now we won here. We need to put this game behind us and figure out what we need to do better."

It's hard to imagine the Mavericks playing much better without Doncic and hope to have him back for the next game.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Dallas, Maxi Kleber had 17 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points, hitting a three-pointer with 1:56 left for a 10-point lead.

Doncic has missed all three of the games in the series with a strained calf, with signs pointing to his return for Game 4 on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Donovan Mitchell scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half for Utah. Bojan Bogdanovic added 24 and Mike Conley had 21. The Jazz had won 11 in a row at home against Dallas.

Conley got the Jazz to 103-102, but Dinwiddie made two baskets and Brunson scored six points on three consecutive possessions to make it 113-104.

"His shot-creating and shot-making has been amazing all season, but the determination he has coming down the stretch to hit those big shots and the confidence he has is just fun to watch," Kleber said.

Brunson appeared to hurt his back midway through the second quarter when Royce O'Neale hit him full-speed from behind. He moved gingerly, rubbed his lower back and earned a technical on his way off the court complaining about a cheap shot.

Brunson didn't want to elaborate on the hit after the game. "I said what I had to say" on the floor.

But he shook it off and toyed with Jazz on a variety of drives to the baskets against several different defenders. Brunson now has 96 points in the three games of the series. He only has one turnover in the last two games.

"He's unique in his physical strength and his ability to kind of keep his dribble alive in the lane where he really uses his body. He's able to play with his feet on the floor, so if you do try to come over and help, he has the ability to find people and spray the ball out," Utah coach Quin Snyder said.

  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) collides with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) and is called for a charge duirng the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock (25) guards Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) falls after a charge from Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) defends in the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends against Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, left, defends in the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) shoots over Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) and Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale (23) battle for a rebound in the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 
  photo  Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) tries to get a rebound next to Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley, rear, during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
 
 

Print Headline: Dallas regains home-court advantage

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