Luka Doncic, injured in his calf, is not yet back, but Dallas is not dead in the NBA playoffs. Monday night, the Mavericks raised their heads against Utah (110-104) thanks to 41 points from Galen Bronson. Texas tied in a win for all in the first round. Game three is on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
In the absence of the Slovenian star (his team’s top scorer, rebel and passer), Bronson (1.85m, 25) took the lead in style. On Saturday in the first game, he finished the Mavs top scorer but with more than one dubious title (9/24). This time, he made his first five shots (including three winning points) in the first six minutes to sign his career record on arrival (41 points on 15/25 shots, 5/7 on 3 points), accompanied by 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
Jazz counted up to ten points
But that may not be enough for Dallas, who is late for most of the night. A minute later Rudi Gobert, author of plunging and back-to-back negatives at the end of the first quarter, Utah took the lead. Led by Donovan Mitchell (35 points but shooting 13/30), Bojan Bogdanovic (25 points) and Jordan Clarkson (21 points), while Joubert was satisfied with 8 points (2/5 shooting), but he inquired about rebound (17). Count to ten lengths at the beginning of the third quadrant (50-60).
Maxi Kleber was the heart of the match: he moved into position by Dirk Nowitzki, the German interior scored an incredible 8/11 behind the arc (25 points in total), including two award winning baskets in a row giving a sure edge in Dallas four minutes of time. The Mavericks made 22 three-pointers (47%), a new record in the playoffs. Lax in defense, Jazz can bite their fingers.
In the East, Philadelphia led the way against the Toronto Raptors (112-97) in an electric atmosphere and led two wins to zero. Joel Embiid, who shook well from the opposition defense, responded by collecting 31 points (including 12/14 from free throws) and 11 rebounds and Thérèse Maxi confirmed his impressive game 1:23 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists. The Sixers were frightened before the break, when their two stars Embiid and James Harden (14 points) collided and lay on the ground for a moment, without consequences.
OJ Anunoby scored 26 points and Pascal Siakam 20 for the Raptors, shorting Scottie Barnes, who was trailing by as much as 27 points.
For the next two episodes, Philadelphia will have to dispense with their prized defender Mathis Thibault, who is not allowed to cross the Canadian border because he has not been fully vaccinated.