Why Dallas Mavericks want to face Utah Jazz in playoffs: 2. Recent playoff struggles
The Jazz will be making their sixth straight postseason appearance, but things have not gone as planned for Utah in recent years. They had the best regular-season record in the NBA last season before falling to the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard in the second round of the playoffs. Utah has won just one playoff series in the last three tries combined, and they have not made it beyond the second round since 2007.
The Clippers went small without Kawhi and forced Rudy Gobert to defend on the perimeter. As he raced back to stop drives, LA kicked out to shooters for wide-open looks. They got the Jazz scrambling on defense and took advantage. That blueprint is still there for the Mavericks to try if Plan A is not working out.
Teams need playoff struggles to take the next step, but things feel different for Utah. They could be on the verge of shaking up the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell partnership if the Jazz make another early playoff exit, and the Dallas Mavericks could be the team that pushes them over the edge.
Winning the title is about getting hot at the right time, and that is exactly why the Mavs want to face the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs.