DALLAS — — Jalen Brunson, Maxi Kleber and the Dallas Mavericks got even in their first-round playoff series with a bunch of a 3-pointers, their fewest turnovers ever in a postseason game, and without injured superstar Luka Doncic.
Brunson scored a career-high 41 points, Maxi Kleber had 25 with eight of their playoff-record 22 made 3-pointers and the Mavericks, with only three turnovers, beat the Utah Jazz 110-104 in Game 2 on Monday night.
In danger of dropping the first two games after opening the playoffs with home-court advantage for the first time since their NBA title 11 years ago, the Mavericks even overcame a 10-point deficit after halftime.
Kleber, who had made only 19% of his 3-point attempts since the All-Star break, was 8-of-11 from beyond the arc and put the Mavs ahead to stay with 4:21 left, then added another 3 on the next possession.
“I started this morning, I was talking to (Dorian Finney-Smith) and I told him, ‘Doe, I’m going to let 10 3s fly tonight.’ And he said, ‘That’s my dog.’ And that kind of set the tone for the day,” Kleber said. “The mindset is we know they’re going to leave certain guys open to shoot. We’ve just got to let it fly.”
Game 3 is Thursday night in Utah, where Dallas has lost its last 11 games.
“We did what we had to do, which was win tonight. But we were only focused on tonight,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We understand what’s in front of us, what’s coming. It’s going to be a hostile environment.”
Brunson, the starting point guard with Doncic out, became the fifth Dallas player to score 40 points in a playoff game. He is the first Mavericks player to do that without committing a turnover. The other 40-point scorers were Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki, Rolando Blackman and Nick Van Exel.
Donovan Mitchell had 34 points for Utah, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 25 and Jordan Clarkson 21. Rudy Gobert had eight points and 17 rebounds.
“We tried to go out there and take both (games). Didn’t happen. You know we’re not going to overreact. We’re going to go home, and we’ve got to take care of business. Simple as that,” Mitchell said. “At the end of the day, we’re happy we took a game and go back and take care of business.”
Dallas had led only once in the second half until a 10-0 run capped by a go-ahead 3 by Finney-Smith and a jumper by Brunson. Royce O’Neale then hit a tying 3-pointer and Mitchell made a short jumper to put Utah back in front before Kleber’s back-to-back 3s.
“The telltale is we can’t have Brunson have the …….