Matchup to watch in Dallas Mavericks vs. Jazz playoff series: 1. Brunson vs. O’Neale
The Jazz have multiple options they could throw at Jalen Brunson in the series but expect Utah to start with Royce O’Neale drawing the assignment. It will create a few cross matches with Donovan Mitchell or Mike Conley on Reggie Bullock and Bojan Bogdanovic matching up versus Dorian Finney-Smith. Things will get more complicated for the Jazz if Dallas goes small, but they want O’Neale’s size and strength on Brunson.
JB struggled against the LA Clippers’ length in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, and he is looking to prove that he can be effective in the postseason. Solving O’Neale and scoring 20-plus, especially without Luka Doncic in the lineup is key to the Mavericks having a chance to win.
Can Brunson do it? He continues to improve his game, and O’Neale is an above-average defender, but he is not some of the options the Clippers threw at the 6’1 guard in the 2021 playoffs.
Brunson relies heavily on creating small spaces to get off shots. Can he do that against O’Neale’s strength and 6’4 frame? According to NBA Stats, JB is five of ten from the field in the 9:39 the Jazz’s wing guarded him during the regular season. Dallas needs this matchup to be advantage Mavericks, so keep a close eye on the happenings.
The Dallas Mavericks can win without superstar Luka Doncic, but they will need to exploit these three matchups to make it a reality. Stay tuned to see how the team performs, and check back to The Smoking Cuban after the game for news and analysis on the series versus the Utah Jazz.