DALLAS – After a long summer, the Dallas Mavericks aim to take down the Utah Jazz in what amounts to the preseason opener for the Mavs.

Though a win or loss won’t affect the Mavericks’ aims to compete in the playoffs, this preseason action provides Jason Kidd a look at what his team may play like in a situation that isn’t a practice scrimmage.

Dallas will be without its complete rotation, missing Dorian Finney-Smith (rest), Frank Ntilikina (rest), Dwight Powell (rest) and Tyrell Terry (not with the team). However, for everyone available, they are eager to play by Kidd’s estimation.

This season promises to be an exciting one. And with expectations sky high for this team, it’s time to see how Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porzingis respond to the doubters. Tonight is the first step in that process. Keep it locked into AtoZsports for the live updates from game one of the preseason.

First Quarter: 

Tip-off: For the starters, Dallas elected to go with Moses Brown, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Dončić. It seems that Kidd wants to get a look at the young guys on the roster early in the preseason.

The first play of Moses Brown’s Mavericks career is an and-1 dunk. Already he looks bigger than everyone else on the floor. He missed the free throw. Score: 2-0.

Dončić’s layup is his first basket of the preseason. He looks quicker, faster, and stronger. Playing basketball all summer must have helped. Score: 4-3 Dallas with the lead.

Brown caught a lob from Dončić for his second dunk of the game. The synergy between the two appears to already be building towards something promising. Dallas may have something in Brown. He dives to the rim, and Dončić draws a multitude of defensive attention meaning lobs to the big man will be in high order. Score: 6-6 with 8:10 left in the quarter.

Timeout 6:40 left in the quarter: The Mavericks offense has looked productive through the first half of the initial quarter. Brown is leading the way with five points. And Dončić is focusing on getting everyone involved. Dončić may be a young Picasso, but Kidd wants him to use all his paints – also know as getting his teammates involved. Dallas currently leads 12-11.
Timeout 3:18 left in the quarter: The Mavericks bench unit has provided some intriguing moments. Maxi Kleber and Jalen Brunson both look active within the offense. One starter that was left in with the Mavericks bench unite was Hardaway. However, Brunson still handles a majority of the creating duties. Score: 18-16 Utah leads.

Out of the timeout, Reggie Bullock is playing his first minutes as a Maverick. And in quick succession, Sterling Brown hit his first three of his Maverick carer. Score: 19-18 Dallas leads.

At the end of the first quarter, Dallas trails 31-22. What was a two-point game, quickly turned when the Mavericks defense started bleeding open threes and second attempts to the Jazz. Leading the Mavericks in scoring are Dončić and Brown who both have five points.

Second Quarter: 

Starting the second quarter, Dončić recorded an and-1 but missed the free throw. This brings into question his reliability from the line, and if last season’s struggles persist? Score: 26-34 Dallas trails.

Dončić put on a dazzling display of dribbles and half-spins leading to a fall-away jumper right over the defense. This may not be anything new, but it is a reminder of just how good this young man is at basketball. Score: 32-36 Dallas trails.

Dončić woke up this quarter, and he has everything working. A step-back 27-footer looked easy for him; the defender was all over him.

Timeout Utah, 6:29 left in the quarter: What was an eight-point lead for Utah was quickly erased by a pair of triples from Dončić and one from Porzingis as well. Dončić just knows how to pile on the points, he’s up to 17 in the game already. Score: 43-41 Dallas trails.

Dallas has stormed back. Led by the bench unit of Kleber and Brunson the Mavericks now lead the game 52-47, forcing the Jazz to take a timeout.

Timeout Utah, 3:14 left in the quarter: Kleber has seven points off the bench, and he has only missed one shot in three attempts. Kleber scoring is an added plus, but he’s on the team for the little things he does. But if he can continue this production of the bench, I’m sure Kidd wouldn’t object. Score 52-47 Dallas leads.

Bullock’s first points as a Maverick come by way of a 3-pointer at the top of the key. He may have gotten away with a travel, but the big offseason signing has finally produced some points in tonight’s contest. Score: 57-52 Dallas leads.

Timeout Dallas, 0:46 left in the quarter: Cauley-Sein looks great through his limited minutes. He has six points and eight rebounds. And he has proven he isn’t afraid to take a three within the flow of the offense. He’s coming into the season with more confidence. Score: 59-54 Dallas leads.
At the Half: 

Dallas leads Utah 61-56 at the half. Dončić is leading the Mavericks in scoring with 19 points on 8-10 from the field and 2-4 from three. As for Porzingis, he has seven points and four rebounds but he’s only made one three in four tries.

The biggest concern for the Mavericks is the corner 3-point defense. Jordan Clarkson got up 10 attempts, but Dallas is lucky he’s only made two. Out of Clarkson’s 10 3-point attempts, a majority were open and in the corner. Limiting open corner 3-pointers needs to be a priority for the Mavs if they aim to stave off the Jazz for 24 more minutes of in-game action.

Third Quarter: 

Out of the half, Dallas went with its bench unit. On the floor: Sterling Brown, Kleber, Bullock, Brunson, and Boban Marjanovic. It may be a short night for the Dallas starters, but what was seen was encouraging.

Bullock is looking more comfortable and confident on the floor. He’s hit two threes in tonight’s contest, and the last was from a step in front of the Mavericks logo. Score: 68-58 Dallas leads.

Timeout Utah, 9:34 left in the quarter: Someone needs to tell Sterling Brown that this is just a preseason game. He just cut baseline and reverse-dunked the ball over Utah’s defender. He’s incredibly athletic when given the space. Score: 70-58 Dallas leads.

 The undrafted rookie point guard Carlik Jones scored his first points as a Maverick with a pull-up mid-range jump shot from the elbow. Score: 80-67 Dallas leads.

Timeout Dallas, 4:35 left in the quarter: Nearly in every category, Dallas is outplaying Utah. As a team, Dallas is shooting 53 percent from the floor compared to Utah’s 40. From three-point range, Dallas is shooting 42 percent to Utah’s 30. If the bench keeps playing this well, Dallas may run away with this one.

Marjanovic is one of the most underrated skilled bigs in the league. He has a jump hook over his right and left shoulder. This time, his direction of choice was his right. Score: 84-74 Dallas leads.

The SMU product, Feron Hunt, touched the rafters on a putback dunk. His athleticism was part of the reason Dallas brought him in. It’s good to see him putting it to use. Score: 86-74 Dallas leads.

Marjanovic just nailed back-to-back 3-point jump shots. I harken back to what I wrote earlier – he’s criminally underrated. Score: 92-74 Dallas leads.

Fourth Quarter: 

Carlik Jones is 3-3 from behind the 3-point line. If he can add shooting and depth to this Mavericks roster that is thin around the edges, it may make a difference for Dončić and Co. down the road. Score: 95-78 Dallas leads.

Hunt loves to go top shelf where mama hides the cookies. This time, it came by way of a lob from the other undrafted rookie Eugene Omoruyi. Score: 99-79 Dallas leads.

A late flurry of threes by Utah cut into Dallas’ once large lead. Now, the Jazz only trail by nine points with four minutes left in the game. Score: 102-93. 

Timeout Utah 3:43 left in the quarter: Just as quickly as the Jazz cut into the lead, the Mavericks pulled away again. A series of offensive putbacks forced the Jazz into a timeout. Score: 106-93 Dallas leads.

As things slow down, with less than two minutes left in the fourth, one takeaway that is immediately evident is the undrafted rookies and young guys on this team are ready. Yes, they are far from perfect, but it’s easy to see some of these younger players playing big roles in a playoff series down the road. That is the most important thing. Score: 106-97 Dallas leads.

The final score from Wednesday’s game: Dallas wins 111-101, improving to 1-0 in the preseason.

Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.