X-factor that will decide Dallas Mavericks vs. Jazz playoff series: 2. Crunch time
The Jazz have struggled to close out games down the stretch. They suffered a five-game losing streak in late March, including a loss to the Mavericks that knocked them out of the top four in the Western Conference and cost them homecourt advantage. Utah lost seven of their final 11 regular-season games, including blowing multiple double-digit fourth-quarter advantages.
The Mavericks won 22 of their 38 clutch games as defined by NBA Stats this season, which was the seventh-best winning percentage in the league. Luka Doncic will not shy away from the moment, and fans know he performs his best on the biggest stages.
Utah secured victories in just 17 of their 40 clutch games this season, which is the 20th best percentage in the league. They shot just 41.5 percent from the field and 29.9 percent on their threes in the final five minutes with the game within five points.
The series could hinge on which team plays better in the fourth quarter. Dallas has been a second-half team this season. They make adjustments and dominate the final 24 minutes, and the Jazz have struggled late in games. Will it result in four comeback wins by the Mavericks to advance? Stay tuned in those fourth quarters no matter how much Dallas is behind to start the final 12 minutes.