There were a handful of question marks heading into Game 3 of this Utah Jazz series. No question mark, however, bigger than the potential return of Luka, who suffered a calf strain in the final regular season game vs. San Antonio. Despite plenty of optimism behind his injury status, Luka was ultimately ruled out of Game 3 hours prior to tip off.
The Mavericks entered Game 3 coming off a statement win back in Dallas. Game 2 saw a career performance from Jalen Brunson, who finished with 41 points and 0 turnovers. The Mavericks also shot 46.8% from deep, in which 8 of the 22 threes were knocked down by Maxi Kleber.
Maxi came off the bench in Game 3 and picked up right where he left off from behind the arc, sinking three straight three’s in his first few minutes on the floor. It wasn’t just Maxi who shot well, however. Kleber, Josh Green, and Davis Bertans combined for 11 made threes.
In this Game 3, Jalen Brunson finished with 31 points, again proving to be masterful in his decision making.
I’ll do the math for you – Jalen Brunson has 72 points and only one turnover in the last 2 games.
Unfortunately, Brunson was given a bruised back from Royce O’Neal due to, in very nice terms, a non-basketball play. Brunson had to leave the game late in the second quarter, but Dallas still took a 17 point lead into the locker room. Brunson would return in the second half to help sustain Utah’s run, which was dominated by Donovan Mitchell dribble penetrations.
The Mavericks also matched Utah’s 32 rebounds. Rudy Gobert finished the game with only 7 of his teams 32 rebounds. In a game that saw foul trouble for Dallas’ bigs, it was considered a massive win to match Utah in this statistical category.
The Mavericks escaped Game 3 with a win and are confident Luka will make his 2022 postseason debut in Game 4. The Mavericks are now in the driver’s seat and look to force a closeout game back in Dallas.