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Mavericks 87, Jazz 82

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DALLAS — Diminutive point guard J.J. Barea came through with a dominant performance Wednesday night that allowed the Dallas Mavericks to clip the cold-shooting Utah Jazz 87-82 at American Airlines Center.

Barea, who is listed at 6 feet but is actually several inches shorter, scored a game-high 22 points that included 15 in the third quarter and 13 in a row in the quarter as Dallas hung on to what was largely a single-digit lead throughout the second half.

The Jazz’s disjointed effort ended hopes of a three-game win streak for the first time this season.

Utah held a couple of brief leads in the first half but never allowed Dallas to run away. In fact, the Jazz crept all the way back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to get within 79-77 with 1:49 to go and then 83-82 after a steal and dunk with 15.3 seconds to go.

But woeful free throw shooting (11 of 21 overall and 6 of 12 in the fourth quarter) and 19 turnovers, including seven in the fourth quarter and the killer on the final possession, proved too much for the young Jazz to overcome.

Utah forward Gordon Hayward, who missed one of two free throws on a late-game possession, committed two turnovers late, including on the final possession.

With the Jazz down 85-82, Hayward drove the lane and tried to send a bounce pass through to the lane to Derrick Favors, but the pass was behind the big man and Dallas took control. Appropriately, Barea was fouled and canned two free throws to seal the victory.

The win allowed the Mavs (36-19) to head into the All-Star break on a positive note after Monday’s tough loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in which they lost leading rebounder Tyson Chandler and leading scorer Monta Ellis in the first four minutes of the game.

While Ellis played 37 minutes against the Jazz (19-34) — although he was noticeably limited and managed just four points — the Mavs are hopeful that Chandler and point guard Rajon Rondo, who missed his seventh consecutive game with facial fractures, will be ready to rejoin the lineup when the schedule resumes Feb. 19 at Oklahoma City.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki was the only other Mavs forward to score in double figures with 15 points and 14 rebounds. He didn’t surpass 10 points until there was just under five minutes left in the game to give Dallas a 79-69 lead.

Dallas forward Chandler Parsons had just eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field, but his night was filled with defending Hayward, who finished with just 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field coming off back-to-back 30-point efforts.

The Jazz shot just 37.5 percent from the floor from the game and were below 35 percent from much of it.

Point guard Trey Burke, now coming off the bench, hit four 3-pointers and had a team-high 16 points for the Jazz. Favors scored 14 points and guard Elijah Millsap had 10 points.

Dallas had a chance to turn this one into a laugher early, going up 22-9 with 51 seconds left in the first quarter and 28-17 with 8:44 left in the first half.

But the Jazz closed the half with a 20-11 spurt to go into halftime trailing just 39-37 despite shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and committing nine turnovers.

NOTES: Mavericks C Tyson Chandler missed Wednesday’s game after twisting his left ankle in the opening two minutes of Monday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Greg Smith got his second start of the season. … Dallas signed C Bernard James to a 10-day contract as a fill-in for Chandler. James played this season in China after being released on Oct. 25 by the Mavericks. … Dallas G Monta Ellis strained his left hip early in Monday’s game, but he was in the starting lineup Wednesday, playing in his 218th consecutive game … Mavericks G Rajon Rondo missed his seventh consecutive game because of facial fractures. The team is optimistic that he will be ready for the next game on Feb. 19 at Oklahoma City. … Jazz F Joe Ingles missed a third consecutive game because of back spasms. … The Jazz hope G Rodney Hood will be able to return after the weeklong All-Star break. He is dealing with a left foot injury.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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