Jalen Brunson typically struggles against teams with length and switchability.

But in the Dallas Mavericks’ fourth meeting with the Utah Jazz, which Dallas won 114-100, he finally figured out a way to attack the team which has had his number all season.

Brunson scored 22 points to go along with10 rebounds. He also shot 47 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. And in a contest that decided the fate of the four seed in the Western Conference, he played one of his most complete games of the season — making light work of Utah’s switchable defensive gameplan.

“I felt like our pace and energy picked up in the second half,” he said after the game. “We did not hold the ball. And we kind of went [downhill] right away when they switched. We caused problems in the paint, whether it was scoring at the rim or kicking it out to play-make. We just had a different pace to us, and getting stops and running obviously helps that. When we were running, it was kind of hard to switch in transition, but it’s just credit to our pace and energy.”

Brunson’s previous struggles against Utah 

In Dallas’ two losses to Utah, Brunson looked like a shell of himself.

He averaged 17 points, but he shot an awful 38 percent from the floor and 33 percent from three.

His play during those matchups brought into question his competency as a true No. 2 guy in the playoffs. With Rudy Gobert at the rim, Brunson struggled to finish his drives with scores in Dallas’ losses.

Because of his lack of size and burst athleticism, Brunson relies on space and body augmentation to get his shots off. The length of Gobert neutralizes that.

Brunson’s success on Sunday night 

So, what made Sunday’s win interesting was, with no Gobert, Utah lacked a defensive anchor and Brunson was able to take advantage.

But he didn’t do so with his typical reckless drives to the rim. Instead, he played to his strength in the midrange. He often lost a defender on a dribble move and opted for a pull-up jump shot or step back, highlighting that he’s learned from his previous mistakes against the Jazz.

The Jazz lack an outstanding perimeter defender. Their defense funnels everything to Gobert, who covers many of the guards’ defensive miscues. If Dallas meets Utah in the playoffs, an outcome that looks extremely likely, Brunson can’t fall into the trap of testing Gobert at the rim.

If Brunson avoids those mistakes, as he did on Sunday, he has a good chance of being a primary contributor to Dallas’ offense during the playoffs.

Something he hasn’t been during his tenure in Dallas.

So, for the first time all season, Brunson proved himself against Utah. Now, he needs to follow the same game plan when these two teams meet again in the playoffs.

“He was really good,” Jason Kidd said. “Being able to get to the paint, I thought his pace was really good, being able to take what the defense gave. And then he knocked down some threes. I thought he played a great game.”

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Feature image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.