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.
The Mavericks, however, didn't exactly get to coast to their eventual 103-93 victory Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavs 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 point guard Jose Calderon, quiet most of the night, made his lone 3-pointer to make it 93-85. The margin would not get closer from there.
"Biggest shot of the game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
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.
"The key for us was probably from the get-go, getting a good start," said Mavs center Samuel Dalembert, who notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 assists. "We know with the other teams we have we can't let them get their confidence back up. We have to get them down from the very beginning.
"We did a good job in the second half. They came back in the third quarter when we were kind of slacking a little bit. They got the confidence back and made a run. The coach brought the starters back and we got the win."
Dallas was led by shooting guard Monta Ellis, who scored 13 of his game-high 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.
Ellis, who logged 38 minutes and played more than 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, also had a team-high six assists as Dallas improved to 8-0 when he dishes out at least five assists.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points and backup center DeJuan Blair delivered 11 points and nine rebounds.
Williams, playing after having surgery on his broken nose on Thursday, 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.
"Frustrated with the performance in the first half," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "You come out on the road and our energy -- I thought they (the Mavs) were the aggressor in the first half.
The things we talked about this morning in the shootaround and the things we talked about before the game, and we allowed them to get where they wanted to go. One thing we have to (do), we have to play with energy and a sense of urgency. I didn't think we had it in the first half."
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.
"The way they were playing him (Hayward), I thought he was waiting for it to come to him. We need him to be aggressive for us," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He didn't want to press. He thought he took a few bad ones in last game. So he was just kind of waiting for the game to come to him. I thought he gave us some good minutes there. We need him to score for us though."
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: Jazz F Marvin Williams 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.