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Mitchell helps Jazz beat shorthanded Mavericks in series opener

Donovan Mitchell scored 30 of his 32 points after halftime, Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 26 and the Utah Jazz opened the playoffs with a 99-93 win on Saturday over the Dallas Mavericks, who were without the injured guard. Luka Doncic.

Bogdanovic had Utah’s only two 3-pointers before halftime, in a 13-2 run over the final three and a half minutes that kept the Jazz ahead. Mitchell, who always seems to be stepping up in the playoffs, came alive after the break.

The fourth-seeded Mavericks, who started the playoffs on home soil for the first time since their NBA title season 11 years ago, have sorely missed their 23-year-old superstar. Doncic strained his left calf six days earlier in the regular season finale. Coach Jason Kidd only said he was day to day.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Dallas.

Jalen Brunson, the starting point guard with Doncic out, had 24 points on 9-of-24 shooting with seven rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points, Reggie Bullock added 15 and Dorian Finney-Smith 14.

With Doncic in a black hoodie on the bench, the Mavericks cut an 11-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to 92-91 on a Maxi Kleber three-pointer with 2:12 remaining. After Mitchell failed, the Mavs had a chance to take their first lead in the second half, but Kleber badly missed another shot from long range.

Royce O’Neale then scored his only basket for the Jazz, three from the corner after first missing inside and then getting a pass from Mitchell. Utah finished with a 20-7 advantage in second-chance points.

Rudy Gobert had 17 rebounds for the Jazz.

The Jazz, who were second in the NBA with 14.5 three-pointers per game, missed their first nine shots from beyond the arc until Bogdanovic hit from the right corner in front of the Dallas bench for the cut back to 41-35 with 3:10 left in the second quarter.

Utah’s only other 3 before halftime by Bogdanovic with 2.2 seconds left for a 45-43 lead after catching a pass from Mitchell.

Doncic spent the game at the end of the Mavericks bench, at one point chewing popcorn from a cup in his hand late in the first quarter. He was on the other side of owner Mark Cuban as the two – along with much of the Mavs bench – acted in dismay with 31 seconds left in the first half after Kleber was called for a foul when Bogdanovic rammed him to draw the call.

Bogdanovic had those two free throws and Bruson had a tough shot on the other end, but the Utah forward hit his semifinal three that kept the Jazz ahead.

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