Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz 4/23/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz Matchup Preview (4/23/22)

The Dallas Mavericks (2-1) battle the Utah Jazz (1-2) in Game 4 of the First Round on Saturday afternoon. Dallas is coming off a 126-118 win in Game 3 after stealing Game 2 on the road. Jalen Brunson was phenomenal once again for the Mavericks. He scored 31 points and facilitated 5 assists on 12/22 (54.5%) from the field. Spencer Dinwiddie had an all-around game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Dorian Finney-Smith played 46 minutes; he contributed 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. The story in Game 3 was the scorching Mavericks bench. Josh Green, Maxi Kleber, and Davis Bertans combined to score 44 points on 11/17 (64.7%) from three. The Mavericks also grabbed 5 more offensive rebounds and had 6 less turnovers. Luka Doncic is a game time decision for Game 4, but he is more likely to play at this point. Dallas will become infinitely more dangerous with Luka on the court. 

The Jazz have been extremely disappointing in this series. They were not able to take a lead over the Doncic-less Mavericks. Donovan Mitchell led the way in Game 3 with 32 points on 10/21 from the field and 1/8 from three. Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 24 points and 6 rebounds on 4/7 from deep. Mike Conley added 21 points and 6 assists through a 42.8 FG%. Rudy Gobert contributed 15 points and 7 rebounds, but his defense hasn’t translated against these shooting big men that the Mavericks trot out. The Jazz offense has been good enough to win, but the defense has allowed Dallas a 120.1 Offensive Rating. It will only get harder when Luka returns, which doesn’t bode well for Utah.

Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz Betting Odds

The spread for Game 4 is -5.5 Jazz despite the Mavericks taking the last two and Luka’s potential return. I like the Mavericks to win and cover the spread because Utah’s defense cannot handle Dallas’ style. The Mavericks guards are dominating the Jazz, and Utah cannot suddenly boost their perimeter defense. They don’t have the athletes or defensive skill necessary to handle Brunson, Dinwiddie, and Luka. Mitchell is scoring 32.7 PPG, but he’s taken too many shots to get there. A 41.3 FG% and 25 3PT% is not good for a high volume player. The Jazz won Game 1 because Dallas shot 38.2 FG% and 28.1 3PT%. If Dallas has a decent shooting night, I don’t think the Jazz can beat them considering how they are currently playing.

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TV Schedule

Date: 4/23/22
Time: 4:30 PM ET
Arena: Vivint Arena – Salt Lake City, UT
Channel: TNT

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Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Jalen Brunson
SF: Reggie Bullock
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell

Dallas Mavericks Analysis

In 13 career playoff games, Luka has averaged 33.5 PPG, 9.5 APG, and 8.6 RPG on an impressive 49/39/60 shooting split. The free throws are worrisome, but he shot 74.4% from the line this season. Luka’s return provides tremendous production on the offensive end in terms of scoring and shot creation. He’s going to add more three-point shooting and stretch this Jazz defense even more. In three games against Utah this season, Luka is 12/27 (44.4%) from three. A consequence of his return is that Dinwiddie will move back to the bench. The bench backcourt was a weakness up until this point, so Dinwiddie’s return allows Dallas to match Jordan Clarkson’s bench scoring. Kleber and Bertans will get easier three-point attempts because Dinwiddie’s driving collapses the defense.  

Jalen Brunson has torched the Jazz this series. He’s averaging 32 PPG, 5 APG, and 5.3 RPG on a 50/41/85 shooting split. Utah should be petrified of the Luka/Brunson backcourt. Their best qualities are exactly what a team needs to exploit Utah’s defense. Brunson will move to an off-ball role with Luka on the court, but he shot 40.1 3PT% on catch and shoot threes during the regular season. Brunson is a combo guard who can kill the Jazz both on and off the ball, so Luka’s return doesn’t diminish him. 

Utah Jazz Starting Lineup

PG: Mike Conley
SG: Donovan Mitchell.
SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
PF: Royce O’Neale
C: Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz Analysis

Where do the Jazz go from here? Despite Gobert’s defensive skill, he looks unplayable. It’s not his fault that the Jazz perimeter defenders cannot stay in front of their man, but Rudy’s immobility is killing Utah. The Jazz cannot turn to a different center because their backup Hassan Whiteside is of the same mold as Gobert. Utah could experiment with O’Neale as a small ball center and go all-out offense. In this scenario, Utah would play Conley, Clarkson, Mitchell, Bogdanovic, and O’Neale. The shooting and ball handling would be excellent, but the downsides far outweigh the benefits. 

The Jazz could also attempt to play zone defense for stretches and keep Gobert in the paint. The problem with that though is Dallas’ ball movement and shooting. One of the fundamental principles of the game is that the basketball moves faster than the player. The Mavericks have multiple ball handlers and passers on the court at once, so they can swing the ball to the open man. The benefit is that Gobert can do what he does best: protect the rim. It would essentially be the Jazz banking on a poor three-point shooting night from Dallas for it to work. No matter what the Jazz do on defense, something has to change. 

Braxton has been writing for Lineups since December 2021 with the majority of his articles focused on the NBA. He is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania where he has spent the last few years working with various UPenn athletics teams and contributing to the UPenn Sports Analytics Group.

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