A dominant stretch of seven-plus minutes made the difference in what had been a back-and-forth game.
The Dallas Mavericks roared off on a tiebreaking 20-2 run that began midway through the third quarter.
Point guard Mike James had seven of his season-high 19 points during the spurt, highlighting his highest scoring game in four years. Vince Carter, another one of the seven Mavs who scored in double figures, added six of his 15 points during the game-changing stretch.
But Dallas’ defense was the most remarkable thing about the run. The Jazz were 1-of-11 from the floor with five turnovers, while the Mavs seized control of the game.
That run could pay dividends the rest of the homestand, which wraps up with three games against playoff teams next week. It allowed coach Rick Carlisle to rest Dirk Nowitzki for the entire fourth quarter. Nowitzki finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 27 minutes.
The Utah Jazz dominated garbage time -- going on a 21-7 run to pull within three points with 7.6 seconds remaining -- to make the game look much closer than it was.
It appeared early on that Utah center Al Jefferson might be too much for the Mavs. He had 11 points in the first quarter, but he scored only two buckets the rest of the game, finishing with 15 points. The physical defense of Elton Brand (10 points, five rebounds in 17 minutes) was a major factor in cooling off Jefferson.
What it means: The Mavs pulled even with the Jazz at 34-36. They’re tied for ninth place in the Western Conference standings, but Utah holds the tiebreaker due to the Jazz’s two home wins over Dallas earlier this season. The Mavs have won eight of their past 11 games and are only two games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers.
Play of the game: Brandan Wright had only a few buckets, but one of them was a beauty. After Carter missed a wild fadeaway in the lane, Wright soared over Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors for a one-hand putback slam in the first quarter.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 17-3 when they shoot at least 50 percent from the floor this season. They made 54.3 percent of their field goal attempts Sunday.