Luka Doncic’s injury was a big blow to the Mavericks’ hopes in their series against the Utah Jazz, and their Game 1 defeat showed that. However, his teammates refused to let the Jazz walk away with a 2-0 lead heading back to Utah.
Instead of folding under pressure, Jalen Brunson decided to bring a career-best performance instead. He poured in 41 points, eight rebounds, fives assists and two steals with no turnovers.
The fourth-year player energized the Dallas crowd, and even earned himself MVP chants at the end of the game.
If there was ever a time for Brunson to have a breakout performance, this was it. With the stakes so high, and their superstar out of action, the Mavericks desperately needed to get a win at home.
Brunson didn’t do it alone, though. They also had another unexpected performance from Maxi Kleber, who had his second-best scoring night of his career with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. The German put on his best Dirk Nowitzki impression and made 8 of 11 three-pointers to the delight of the home crowd – especially since a few of those triples came in crunch time.
With the series now tied, the Mavericks have bought themselves a bit more time to let Doncic heal. They now face the tough task of trying to get a win in Utah, where the Jazz will be itching to retake the series lead.