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Brunson, Mavericks beat Jazz 126-118 to take 2-1 series lead

Brunson, Mavericks beat Jazz 126-118 to take 2-1 series lead

Jalen Brunson scored 31 points playing with a bruised back and the Dallas Mavericks — without the injured Luka Doncic — beat the Utah Jazz 126-118 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Dallas, Maxi Kleber had 17 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:56 left for a 10-point lead.

Doncic has missed all three of the games in the series with a strained calf, with signs pointing to his return for Game 4 on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Donovan Mitchell scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half for Utah. Bojan Bogdanovic added 24 and Mike Conley had 21. The Jazz had won 11 in a row at home against Dallas.

Conley got the Jazz to 103-102, but Dinwiddie made two baskets and Brunson scored six points on three straight possessions to make it 113-104.

Brunson appeared to hurt his back midway through the second quarter when Royce O’Neale hit him full-speed from behind. He moved gingerly, rubbed his lower back and earned a technical on his way off the court complaining about a cheap shot.

But he shook it off and toyed with Jazz on a variety of drives to the baskets against several different defenders. Brunson now has 96 points in the three games of the series.

Once the Jazz finally matched the Mavericks and played without a center, the court opened up for Utah. Mitchell (18) and Bogdanovic (12) scored at will in the third quarter against a leaky Dallas zone. The Jazz made 14 of 18 shots and trimmed the lead to 97-91 entering the final period. The game was physical and chippy at times, featuring 60 fouls.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: After going 8 for 11 from 3-point range in Game 2, Kleber made three straight in his first two minutes on the court. … Tim Hardaway Jr. (foot surgery) is probably out for the playoffs unless Dallas makes a deep run.

Jazz: Olympic gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn and boxer Floyd Mayweather sat courtside. … Clarkson made a three-quarter-court shot but it came just after the first-quarter horn. … Eric Paschall only played 10 minutes (at center) but scored six points and Utah outscored Dallas by nine points during that time.

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