Fresh off a surprise playoff berth in 2012, anticipation has been high for this season’s Utah Jazz roster. If opening night is any indicator, the Jazz could be a factor in the Western Conference landscape. A dynamic second-half fueled a 113-94 victory over the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas went on a 3-point barrage to finish the first half and hold a 63-55 lead at break. However, that advantage was quickly negated by an exhilirating third quarter that saw the Jazz overpower the Mavs 37-13.
Utah had a balanced attack with six players scoring in double-digits. Point guard Darren Collison had 17 points to pace the Mavs. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki will miss the first several weeks of the season due to injury.
NEWCOMERS' PARTY: Much has been said about Utah offseason additions Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, and Randy Foye. And each of them showed Jazz fans why Kevin O’Connor and Dennis Lindsey brought them aboard.
Mo Williams, one of the Jazz’s three captains, was saddled with two early first-quarter fouls. He did not let that deter him at all, however. The speedy point guard continually pushed the tempo off both Dallas makes and misses. His floor leadership was the driving force behind a brilliant third quarter. In 30 minutes, Williams tallied 21 points (2-for-4 on 3-pointers), six assists, two steals, and even a pair of blocked shots.
The other Williams, Marvin, had a very efficient Salt Lake City debut. While the Jazz offense was a bit sloppy early on, the new starting small forward was a bright spot. He was sharp on both ends of the floor en route to 21 points of his own (7 of 13 from the field, 2-for-3 3s, and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line).
Last but not least, Foye had an impressive +/- of plus-19. The combo guard did most of his damage in the second half. He ended with 13 points, three assists, and three rebounds.
CLEANING THE GLASS: From the opening tip, the Jazz controlled the rebounding battle. Paul Millsap was extremely active all night, claiming a game-high 15 boards (eight on the offensive end). His frontcourt mate, Al Jefferson, had 14 caroms of his own.
The bench bigs, Derrick Favors (10 rebounds in 18 minutes) and Enes Kanter (seven in 14 minutes) also made their presence known. All in all, Utah outrebounded Dallas 61-40.
- The Jazz outshot the Mavs from the free throw line 42-26 and outmade Dallas by 12 points.
- Of the 13 Dallas players who saw the court, only five of them were carry-overs from last year’s roster.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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