NBA playoffs

Mitchell shrugs off cold start as Jazz edge Mavericks in Game 1

Mitchell shrugs off cold start as Jazz edge Mavericks in Game 1

HEAT UP. Donovan explodes for 30 points in the second half as the Jazz take down the Mavericks.

Scott Wachter/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Without injured superstar Luka Doncic, the Mavericks fail to protect their home court as the Jazz take a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference first round series

Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points after a rough start and Bojan Bogdanovic had 26 as the Utah Jazz took advantage of Luka Doncic’s absence to defeat the host Dallas Mavericks, 99-93, in the opening game of their Western Conference first round series Saturday, April 16 (Sunday, April 17, Manila time).

Rudy Gobert grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 3 shots to lead the defensive effort in this low-scoring contest for the Jazz, who took both a 1-0 lead and home court advantage with the road win.

Mitchell had a rough overall game from the field, shooting 10-for-29, and scored only 2 points in the first half before exploding for 30 in the second half. He also had 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

Jazz point guard Mike Conley added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Dallas played without its superstar, who was ruled out of Game 1 Saturday morning. Doncic suffered a left calf strain in the regular season finale against San Antonio. It’s uncertain whether he’ll be back for Game 2 on Monday.

Jalen Brunson scored 24 and Spencer Dinwiddie tossed in 22 for the Mavericks, who were limited offensively without their leading scorer. Reggie Bullock added 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 14.

Utah, which struggled to put teams away after taking big leads this season, was up 86-75 in the fourth quarter when Dallas made a final push – mostly from the free throw line. The Mavs pulled within 1 with 2:12 left after a Max Kleber three-pointer capped a 16-6 surge.

Kleber had a chance to put Dallas ahead but missed from beyond the arc on the next possession.

Royce O’Neal then had a big possession for the Jazz, hauling in his own missed shot and then nailing a three-pointer for a 95-91 lead with 56.2 remaining. Mitchell added some free throws and Utah’s defense fended off the Mavs’ final comeback effort.

Jordan Clarkson and Bogdanovic sparked the Jazz’s second-quarter resurgence, which was capped off by a 13-2 run heading into halftime. Bogdanovic had 20 points, including a last-second three to put the Jazz up 45-43, and Clarkson scored 10 in the first half.

Mitchell came alive in the third quarter, scoring the first two buckets out of the locker room en route to a 19-point outburst.

Utah outrebounded Dallas 53-34 and shot 43.4% from the field compared to just 38.2% for the Mavericks. –