Josh Green posts career high in Dallas Mavericks win after Kyrie Irving trade
Kyrie Irving had yet to arrive and Luka Doncic was absent, so it was time for the Dallas Mavericks youngsters to shine.
Australian Josh Green and fellow countryman Jaden Hardy each scored career highs of 29 points and the shorthanded Mavericks upset the Utah Jazz 124-111 on Tuesday after completing a trade for Irving.
“Luka (and Irving) are going to have their amazing nights, but if we’re going to be a champion team, it’s about the rest of us being able to step up,” Green said.
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The Mavericks acquired the eight-time All-Star with Markieff Morris from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick and two future second-round picks.
Irving and Morris arrived in Dallas on Tuesday for physicals and were unavailable for the game. But their new team rallied behind Green, who is averaging 8.1 points, and Hardy, who is averaging 5.6 points per game.
“We thought we could win this before the game even started,” Hardy said. “The Jazz didn’t seem to take it seriously. They came out late before the game to warm up, all nonchalant.
When Green was on the court, the Mavericks outscored the Jazz by an astonishing 39 points and won their first game in eight tries without Doncic, their leading scorer averaging 33.4 points per game.
“Guys believed and Josh set the tone,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “He knows how to play and he’s not afraid of the moment.”
Doncic (heel bruise) missed his third game in 10 days. The Jazz beat the Mavs 108-100 on January 28, when the Slovenian star was out with a sprained ankle. This time, the Mavericks beat the Jazz in nearly every hustle category, including a 49-37 edge on the boards.
“It was exemplified when (180cm) McKinley Wright beat Kessler (216cm Utah Walker). The physique for us tonight was high no matter how small we were,” Kidd said.
After scoring 12 total points in six games, Hardy broke out for his career night and Dwight Powell added a career-best 12 points and 16 rebounds.
“It was super fun,” Hardy said twice with a smile that didn’t leave his face for a long time.
Jordan Clarkson paced Utah with 26 points on 7-for-19 shooting and Lauri Markkanen added 19 — the first time he failed to reach 20 points in the last 21 games.
“They played better than us. They played harder than us. Give them credit, but I don’t think we were ready to play,” Markkanen said.
The Jazz are now 7-5 on an 11-of-13 home streak, when they hoped to gain ground on teams like Dallas, but are now two games behind the Mavs.
The Jazz struggle when their threes don’t fall and they often fail to get back on defense. The upstart Mavs led the Jazz 27-4 on quick break points.
“This is the first game of the whole season where I’m just disappointed with our focus,” Utah coach Will Hardy said.
“We just didn’t have the focus and attention for the little things. They had 27 points in transition and 24 second chance points and that’s how we lost the game.
Predictably with different rotations and the end of the bench getting important minutes, the Mavericks seemed out of sync at times. But they started running at every opportunity and went on a 23-6 run between the second and third quarters to take a 75-66 lead.
The Jazz cut the lead to a single possession in the fourth quarter but could never catch the Mavs.
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