Utah Jazz-Dallas Mavericks playoff collection: Wanting again at 2001 collection

Compared with many of the Utah Jazz’s 14 different opponents within the NBA’s Western Conference, their playoff historical past with the Dallas Mavericks — their first-round opponent this 12 months — could be very temporary.

The two sides have met simply twice within the postseason, and the 2 occasions have been each unfold fairly far aside from one another and within the reasonably distant previous.

The first assembly got here all the way in which again in 1986, and the second was 15 years later in 2001.

That’s the extent of the historical past.

Of Utah’s 14 opponents within the West, that’s the third-fewest occasions it has performed a group within the playoffs (they’ve by no means confronted the Minnesota Timberwolves or New Orleans Pelicans, and so they’ve confronted the Memphis Grizzlies simply as soon as — within the first spherical final 12 months).

But regardless of the shortage of playoff conferences between Utah and Dallas, the final one marked a pivotal level in each groups’ histories, particularly the Mavericks.

It was the spring of 2001, and whereas Utah was within the post-NBA Finals period of 1997 and 1998, it was nonetheless group, the 4 seed within the West.

Dallas, in the meantime, was transferring in the other way. Mark Cuban had purchased the group about 16 months earlier, and for the primary time since 1990, the Mavericks have been within the playoffs.

Led by a younger core of Michael Finley, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Juwan Howard, they have been the 5 seed (each groups completed the common season with 53 wins, however the Jazz received the tiebreaker).

This was within the days when the primary spherical was a better of 5 reasonably than a finest of seven, and the Jazz took the primary two video games in Salt Lake City.

Game 1 was a 2-point win, and Game 2 was an 11-point distinction.

With their backs in opposition to the wall, the Mavericks received the following two video games in Dallas — together with a 30-point win in Game 4 — to tie the collection up.

Then Game 5 occurred.

With a possibility to win the collection on their house ground, the Jazz led by 14 coming into the fourth quarter, however the Mavericks used a 12-0 run to get again in it inside seven minutes to play.

Dallas lastly tied issues up with 4:02 remaining, and stayed inside one till simply seconds have been left.

That’s when Finley handed out of a double-team (he had been sizzling within the fourth quarter) to backup heart Calvin Booth proper by the basket.

Karl Malone was there to defend Booth, however considerably surprisingly, he didn’t provide a lot resistance (he wasn’t in foul hassle), and Booth laid the ball in to offer the Mavericks a 1-point lead.

The Jazz nonetheless very a lot had an opportunity on the ultimate possession, however Bryon Russell missed a totally large open look from 3, and Malone missed a jumper from about 20 toes as time expired.

Dallas received the collection.

The collection wound up being a vital level for each franchises. For the Mavericks, it was their first playoff collection victory since 1988, and their first of 12 consecutive playoff appearances, which included two NBA Finals appearances and a championship in 2011.

For the Jazz, it marked the primary time since 1995 that they didn’t make it previous the primary spherical, and it was the primary of six consecutive years by which they both didn’t make it previous the primary spherical or missed the playoffs altogether.

In 2019, Nowitzki mirrored on the 2001 collection in opposition to the Jazz whereas he was in Salt Lake City for the ultimate sport of his profession at Vivint Arena.

“Amazing, amazing times back then when the Mavs hadn’t been in the playoffs there in the ’90s for a long, long time,” he instructed the Deseret News. “Being a part of that turnaround with (Nash) and (Finley), that was superior. Then we have been down, lose (the primary two) video games right here, go down 0-2 and are available again in opposition to (John) Stockton and Malone.

“I remember when Malone missed that last shot, I was running around full court like we won the championship, and that was a first-round series.”

Nowitzki famous how Dallas misplaced within the subsequent spherical to the San Antonio Spurs, however that first-round win over the Jazz in dramatic vogue “was the start for us of a great decade of winning 50 games-plus (each season) and having some great teams and having a lot of fun winning and competing.”

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