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Dallas Mavericks Look to Finish Season Series With Jazz on Positive Note

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 24: J.J. Barea #5 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz on February 24, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 24: J.J. Barea #5 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz on February 24, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Having won nine of their last ten games, the Jazz visit the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night. This is Dallas’ opportunity to earn their first win against Utah this season.

Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks will host the Utah Jazz, as they try to rebound from their current three-game losing streak. Game time is at 8:30 p.m. ET.

When the teams met back on Feb. 24, rookie guard Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 25 points in a 97-90 Utah victory. J.J. Barea was impressive for Dallas, putting together 17 points and 12 assists. A win tonight would give Utah the series sweep.

As the season nears its end, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves in an awkward position. Their 22-49 record implies that they will indeed be a lottery team this offseason. That record, however, does not speak to the amount of heart and fight this team has.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FEBRUARY 24: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball against the Utah Jazz on February 24, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – FEBRUARY 24: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball against the Utah Jazz on February 24, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Spoiler Alert

Interestingly enough, this game will have heavy playoff implications.

Although playoff hopes are out the window for Dallas, they are in prime position to play spoiler to a few playoff-hopeful opponents over the next few weeks. With four games separating the fourth-place Oklahoma City Thunder (43-30) and 10th-place Los Angeles Clippers (38-33), Utah (40-31) has little to no room for error.

After Tuesday’s 99-94 loss to Atlanta, another lottery team, Utah has shown that they are vulnerable on any given night. Atlanta held the Jazz to 18 percent shooting from behind the arc, well below their season average of 36 percent.

If the Mavericks can replicate that effort on defense and get balanced production on offense, they will stand a chance.

Notes

Dallas will likely play without starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr. After going out with a sprained ankle against Brooklyn Saturday night, he missed Tuesday’s 115-105 loss to New Orleans. In his stead, look for Barea to get the nod at point.

In their two wins, Jazz center Rudy Gobert is averaging 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Next: Mo Bamba Could be the Dallas Version of Rudy Gobert

Be sure to follow The Smoking Cuban on Twitter at @thesmokingcuban, for live score updates, analysis and highlights. As always, go Mavs!

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