Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — Whether getting inside of the top six in the Western Conference actually proves to be advantageous for the Dallas Mavericks in the long run remains to be seen, but, given current form, the team is in as good of a position as any in the middle of the rat race in the Western Conference playoff picture to make sure it doesn’t have to go through the roulette-wheel uncertainty of the play-in..

Luka Doncic had 34 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Mavericks coasted to a 113-97 victory over the Utah Jazz inside American Airlines Center on Thursday evening. The win moved the Mavericks into the sixth and final automatic playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Daniel Gafford had 24 points as Dallas earned its third straight victory and winners in seven of its last eight contests.

“When you have talent, it’s always easy to say that you’re supposed to win but you have to put the talent together and trust one another,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “You can see that in a season. Sometimes we want it to happen overnight. It’s March and we’re playing on both sides of the ball. We’re not shooting the 3 as well as we would like but we’re still getting wide-open looks, guys are still taking them. Everybody’s trust, the chemistry we’ve built — now it’s about being tested.”

Dallas was not tested too much after it outscored the Jazz 27-15 in the second quarter to take a 53-42 lead into the half. Doncic only played four minutes in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks’ lead did not go under nine points at any point in the second half.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday evening’s contest, with photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 27 pictures in total.

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Tags : Dallas MavericksNational Basketball AssociationUtah Jazz

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