Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Utah snaps five-game streak by going inside

SALT LAKE CITY – Layups on one end, jumpers at the other. That’s the easy explanation for the Mavericks’ 99-90 loss at Utah and it isn’t that far off.

“You can definitely say that,” Devin Harris said. “The first quarter they were getting layups and dunks, and we didn’t score until the 6-minute mark taking jump shots. It took us too long to figure that out.”

The Jazz ran Jerry Sloan’s time-tested system for easy baskets time and time again Wednesday night inside EnergySolutions Arena, snapping the five-game winning streak of the jumper-happy Mavs.

Dallas (19-10) stayed within striking distance because of the outside shot, namely the 3-pointer. Dirk Nowitzki hoisted a season-high 10 from beyond the arc (made three) and the Mavs would make nine in all.

But the Jazz, losers earlier this month at Dallas, pounded their way to 44 points in the paint. Whether it was Carlos Boozer (21 points and nine rebounds) dunking or Deron Williams (17 points and 12 assists) flying through the lane, Utah made its living in close proximity to the rim.

“Too many,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said Utah’s layups. “That’s been an area of concern.”

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