With the 7th seed in the Western Conference locked up the Dallas Mavericks were without 4 of their starting 5 entering Monday night's, April 13, matchup against the Utah Jazz. The Dallas Mavericks were looking to pickup their 50th win of the season but were simply outmatched with Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki sitting out for rest purposes and Chandler Parsons still not playing due to his right knee injury.
The Dallas team went in search of its first 50-win season since capturing 57 victories during the 2010-11 campaign en route to the title. But, while losing another of their top contributors before the night ended, the Mavericks (49-32) wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the Jazz (38-43) in the second half, falling to a 109-92 defeat in the process.
Utah also opted to rest three of its top players, sitting Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Trey Burke. The Mavericks rolled out a starting lineup that included Raymond Felton, Rajon Rondo, Richard Jefferon, Charlie Villanueva and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Charlie Villanueva led the Mavs offense in the first quarter scoring 8 points hitting a couple treys. Reserve big man, Bernard James, even got some playing time and hita layup as time winded down but the Mavs would trail 29-26 after 1.
After a thunderous alley-oop finish by Jazz guard Bryce Cotton to begin the second stanza, the Mavericks found themselves playing out of a widening hole. The Mavs then received a scare when sixth man Devin Harris was ruled out the rest of the way after limping to the locker room with a left great toe injury. X-ray came out negative but Harris stated after the game it was pretty swollen but felt confident he'd be ready for the playoffs.
As the first half came do a close Jazz center Rudy Gobert was taking advantage of a thin Mavericks frontcourt and nearly had a double-double at intermission as he racked up 17 points and 9 rebounds. Charlie Villanueva kept the Mavericks close with another 7 points in the second quarter to bring his total to 15 for the half as the Jazz and Mavericks were all tied up at 57 apiece at halftime.
Utah would catch fire from beyond the arc in the third quarter hitting six treys in the quarter go on a 11-4 run early capped off by a Dante Exum three-pointer with 7:27 left to force Rick Carlisle into a timeout. The Mavs woes of guarding beyond the arc would resurface and the Jazz would use that to their advantage as they took an 87-69 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks would attempt to rally in the fourth quarter with J.J Barea leading the way with 18 points off the bench but the Dallas reserves were unable to pull off a comeback as they trailed by as much as 20 points before finally falling 109-92.
Barea led five Mavericks in double figures, Villanueva and Stoudemire posted 15 points apiece in the first unit, while Rondo scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists. Meanwhile, reserve forward Al-Farouq Aminu recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Bryce Cotton led six Jazz players in double figures with a career-high 21 points off the Utah bench and Gobert finished with 20 points on 9 of 16 from the field to go along with 17 rebounds inside. The Jazz also outshot the Mavs for the game, 50 percent to 41.5 percent, in addition to a 48-41 rebounding edge and 21 points off Dallas’ 17 turnovers.
It's unclear whether Carlisle will opt to rest his starters again Wednesday night, April 15, against the Portland Trailblazers but with the Mavericks looking for their 50th win there's a good chance the starting 5 will get some playing minutes even if it is limited.