In this young season, the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz have already met three times. The first two games went pretty much according to the script – the rebuilding Mavs were easily handled by a Jazz team with aspirations for a deep playoff run.
Then the third game happened, and perhaps the only people more shell-shocked than Utah fans were the players themselves. They lost by 50 points! That’s crazy!
For Aussie fans, this is a fixture with potential (and I had indicated as such in my season preview), with Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, and new guy Ryan Broekhoff all involved. As it turns out, the newbie came out on top this time.
Rowdy shows up and shows out
Broekhoff hasn’t had many opportunities so far. He’s only played in seven games, totaling just 24 minutes. But with Dallas completely blowing Utah up, he got about a third of that minutes total all in one game, and he made sure to grab the opportunity. Rowdy finished with 5 points and 2 boards, without missing a shot. His three-pointers look so pure and beautiful:
He even displayed some passing chops. I didn’t know he had this in him:
With Dorian Finney-Smith looking very impressive to start the season, playing time has been tough to come by for Rowdy. But it’s a long season, and if he keeps working hard and shooting as well as he did in this game, I’m sure he’ll get some regular minutes before long.
“We love him,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said in a recent interview. “He’s a terrific system player, a great shooter and a guy who understands how to play. He’s a guy that you know is always going to be ready.”
Carlisle’s old-school and tough as they come, and not one to hand out compliments for free. The signs are looking up for Broekhoff.
This was an odd game. It almost felt like the Jazz just gave up on it halfway through, and this was reflected in Ingles’ game as well. He came out looking sprightly, scoring 8 points in the first quarter, knocking down two triples in the process.
He then… proceeded to go scoreless the rest of the game, finishing with just the 8 points on 3-of-8 shooting. Something about playing the Mavs doesn’t suit him; in the previous two games, he only tallied 12 and 6 points on 30% shooting overall.
Still, he has been leaving a mark of a different kind against the Mavs this season. In the last game, Jingles did this to Luka Dončić:
And in the blowout loss, there was another minor grabbing incident.
This might be Jingles being his troll self. The returns have been mixed so far – the Jazz have won two out of three, but Luka has played quite well, even dropping this on Ingles to close the first half.
A minor budding rivalry perhaps? We’ll have to wait till February when these two teams play again to see if this will grow further.
Exum shows signs
Dante was largely invisible during this game, unfortunately. He finished with just 3 points in 21 minutes, making just one field goal. There were a couple of encouraging signs, however. First, he had this nice pick and roll play, finishing with the perfect lob to Derrick Favors for the flush:
Then, he showed some defensive ability by completely nullifying the dangerous J.J. Barea-Dwight Powell pick and roll play, sticking tight to Powell and forcing him out of the paint altogether.
All in all, an unexpected result. As a Mavs fan, it was a welcome surprise, but in the grand scheme of things, Jazz fans probably shouldn’t be too bothered. Seeing Broekhoff finally get some time on the court and being super efficient (he was +17 in seven minutes!) was the best part. Let’s hope he builds further on this performance.