Green, Hardy help Mavs surprise Jazz without Doncic
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Kyrie Irving hadn’t arrived yet and Luka Doncic was out, so it was time for the Dallas youngsters to shine.
Josh Green and Jaden Hardy each scored career highs of 29 points and the short-handed Mavericks stunned the Utah Jazz 124-111 on Monday night after completing a trade for Irving.
“Luka (and Irving) are going to have their amazing nights, but if we want to be a championship team it’s about the rest of us being able to step up,” Green said.
The Mavericks acquired the eight-time All-Star along with Markieff Morris from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two future second-round picks.
Irving and Morris arrived in Dallas on Monday to undergo physicals and were not available for the game. But their new team rallied behind Green, who averages 8.1 points, and Hardy, who scores 5.6 per game.
“We believed we could win this from before the game even started,” Hardy said. “The Jazz didn’t seem like they were taking it seriously. They came out late before the game to warm up, all nonchalant.”
When Green was on the court, the Mavericks outscored the Jazz by an astonishing 39 points and won their first game in eight tries without Doncic, their leading scorer with 33.4 points a game.
“The guys believed and Josh set the tone,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “He understands how to play and he’s not afraid of the moment.”
Doncic (heel bruise) missed his third game in 10 days. The Jazz beat the Mavs 108-100 on Jan. 28, when the Slovenian star was out with a sprained ankle. This time the Mavericks bested the Jazz in nearly hustle category, including a 49-37 advantage on the boards.
“It was exemplified when (5-foot-11) McKinley Wright was boxing out (Utah’s 7-foot-1 Walker) Kessler. The physicality for us tonight was high, no matter how small we were out there,” Kidd said.
After scoring 12 total points over six games, Hardy broke out for his career night and Dwight Powell added 12 points and a career-best 16 rebounds.
“It was super fun,” Hardy said twice with a smile that didn’t leave his face for a long while.
Jordan Clarkson paced Utah with 26 points on 7-for-19 shooting and Lauri Markkanen added 19 — the first time he has failed to reach 20 points in the last 21 games.
“They played better than us. They played harder than us. Give credit to them, but I don’t think we were ready to play,” Markkanen said.
The Jazz are now 7-5 on a stretch where they’re playing 11 of 13 games at home, when they hoped to gain ground on teams like Dallas, but are now two games behind the Mavs.
The Jazz struggle when their 3s aren’t falling and they often fail to get back on defense. The upstart Mavs led the Jazz 27-4 on fast break points.
“This is the first game all season where I just feel disappointed in our focus,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “We just did not have the necessary focus and attention to the little things. They had 27 points in transition and 24 second-chance points and that’s how we lost the game.”
As could be expected with different rotations and the end of the bench getting significant minutes, the Mavericks looked out of sync at times. But they started running at every opportunity and went on a 23-6 run bridging the second and third quarters to take a 75-66 lead.
The Jazz trimmed the lead to a single possession in the fourth quarter but could never catch the Mavs.
Mavericks: Wright finished his first start with a career-high 10 points. … Davis Bertans (left calf strain) and Maxi Kleber (right hamstring tear) were out. … Dallas outscored Utah on second-chance points, 24-12
Jazz: Jarred Vanderbilt, the subject of persistent trade rumors, missed his second game with back spasms. … Mike Conley, who had a game-high 11 assists, turned his ankle in the fourth quarter but continued to play after a timeout. … Utah went 6 of 31 from 3-point range but had a 62-42 edge in the paint.
Mavericks: Continue five-game road trip at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Jazz: Host Minnesota on Friday.