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Jalen Brunson pours in 41 as Dallas Mavericks even series with Utah Jazz

Sportsnaut
Apr 18, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) grabs the ball in front of Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell (7) during the first quarter in game two of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson exploded for 41 points, Maxi Kleber added 25 and the host Dallas Mavericks were on fire from outside to overcome superstar Luka Doncic’s absence in a 110-104 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

The teams’ first-round Western Conference playoff series is tied at one win apiece heading to games in Salt Lake City on Thursday and Saturday.

Kleber scored all but one of his points from beyond the arc, shooting 8-for-11 from 3-point range, and Brunson made six treys. Dallas hit 22 of 47 attempts (46.8 percent) from long distance, while Utah connected on 11 of 29 (37.9 percent) from outside.

Dallas’ Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 17 points and six assists, while Reggie Bullock put up 11 points.

Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points, Bojan Bogdanovic had 25 and Jordan Clarkson added 21 for the Jazz, who were unable to maintain the lead they held for most of the second half when it counted most.

Doncic has missed the series’ first two games due to a strained left calf.

Utah led by 10 in the third quarter and was up by six heading to the fourth. Mitchell followed his own missed 3-point attempt and converted a three-point play to give the Jazz a 93-86 lead with 8:07 left in the game.

It was all Dallas after that.

Bullock kicked off a game-changing, 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and then Brunson trimmed Utah’s lead to 93-91 with a nice floater. Dorian Finney-Smith drained a triple to put the Mavs up by one, and a Brunson drive capped the surge.

The Jazz momentarily regained the lead, but Kleber helped the Mavericks quickly regain momentum with back-to-back 3-pointers as Utah struggled with its perimeter defense.

Bogdanovic made a couple of clutch turnaround shots, but Finney-Smith hit another trey, Brunson made three free throws and the Jazz only managed two points in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

The Jazz took a 55-48 lead into halftime after finishing the second quarter on a 7-0 run, with Mitchell draining a 3-pointer and Gobert sinking four free throws. Mitchell scored 12 points in the second period.

–Field Level Media