DALLAS -- The rebuilding Utah Jazz are easy pickings right now and the Dallas Mavericks took quick advantage, building a 28-point lead in the first half. However, they didn't exactly get to coast to their eventual 103-93 victory Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks got a bit too comfortable with the large cushion and the Jazz found energy in forward Marvin Williams' hot shooting and some inspired backcourt play from reserve guard Diante Garrett, who didn't play in the first half. Utah got within eight points twice early in the fourth quarter and then trailed 90-85 with 4:41 to go.
Following a Dallas timeout, Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis made a 3-pointer to make it 93-85. The margin would not get closer from there.
Winners of just one of their first 14 games and losers of five in a row, the Jazz had no rhythm early, scoring just 34 points in the first half while Dallas (9-4) scored 31 in the first quarter. The Mavs weren't happy about allowing their big lead to slip away on the first night of a back-to-back when their starters seemed in line to get some extra rest. Dallas will play at Denver on Saturday night riding a four-game winning streak after a sweep of their three-game homestand.
Dallas was led by Ellis, who scored 13 of his 26 points in the first half when the Mavs shot 59.0 percent, poured in nearly half of their points inside the paint and turned 13 Jazz turnovers into 18 points. Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points and center Samuel Dalembert notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Williams led the Jazz with 19 points, 16 in the second half. Unfortunately for the Jazz, the hole they dug in the first half was just too deep to crawl all the way out. They got just 11 points from their starters in the first half, including no points from either of their leading scorers, forward Gordon Hayward and center Enes Kanter. Hayward was a game-time decision with a bruised right kneecap sustained in Wednesday's loss at New Orleans when he shot 1-of-17 from the floor. He finished with 13 points as did forward Derrick Favors. Kanter finished with just two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Utah's rookie point guard Trey Burke played in his second game since returning from a broken right index finger in the preseason. He came off the bench again, but started the second half in place of John Lucas III, perhaps a precursor of Burke taking over the starting job. Burke finished with five points, three assists and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Forward Jeremy Evans had 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting in 16 minutes.
NOTES: F Gordon Hayward, Utah's leading scorer, was in the starting lineup despite sustaining a bruised kneecap in Wednesday night's loss to New Orleans. ... Jazz F Marvin Williams also played despite undergoing surgery on Thursday to repair a broken nose. He had a protective mask made and flew into Dallas on Friday afternoon. ... Mavs F Shawn Marion played despite sustaining a right groin strain during Wednesday night's win over Houston in which he made the winning 3-pointer. ... Utah entered Friday's game 0-7 on the road and Dallas was 6-0 at home. ... Jazz rookie PG Trey Burke played in his second game since returning from a broken right index finger. Expected to be the starter before the preseason injury, Burke is expected to see his minutes rise as he works his way into game shape.