The Dallas Mavericks lost a close game at home to the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. The Mavs put up a valiant effort and had a chance to win late, only to fall just short.


Dallas missed Luka Doncic badly in the 99-93 loss. The Mavs' offense struggled to score against Rudy Gobert and company without Doncic running the show. We are still not sure whether Doncic will be back for Game 2, but the Mavs need this win to remain in this series. If they lose, they have a mountain to climb, playing the next two in Salt Lake City.

Thus, let's look at three bold Dallas Mavericks predictions for Game 2 against the Utah Jazz.

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Mavs predictions for Game 2 vs. Jazz 

Luka Doncic will be back and he will drop at least 40 

The Mavericks really missed Doncic in Game 1. The Slovenian superstar recently suffered a strained left calf and could also miss Game 2. However, Doncic is sorely needed, and the prediction here is that he will suit up.

Most NBA players will tell you that, in the playoffs, everyone plays with some sort of injury. It is true that this injury was likely serious enough not to risk Doncic for the first game, but if he does not play in the second one, the Mavs could be out quick, even if he returns for the trip to Utah.

Thus, Luka Doncic will be available for Game 2. However, we are going one step further in our prediction: Luka Doncic will be back and he is dropping at least 40 points.

Doncic notched six 40-plus-point games this season, and interestingly enough, they all came in 2022. The Mavs can expect him to take over a game and really punish the Jazz. One thing that really goes in favor of Doncic is the fact that he is a nightmare matchup for the Jazz. They do have Mike Conley, who is an excellent defender, but Doncic is taller and stronger than him, so the only way that the Jazz can really effectively plan versus him is to get the ball out of his hands.

Even that, however, is not really simple, as Doncic has grown immensely as a player since coming over from Europe. This version of Doncic is very mature, confident, and he has come to the stage in his career where, even coming off an injury, the opposing defense can really only try to contain him.

The Mavs will get a great performance from Davis Bertans 

When the Mavericks traded away Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, they got two players with massive chips on their shoulders. To his credit, Dinwiddie has been great, shooting 40% from 3-point range and really linking up with Doncic. On the other hand, Bertans remained very far from the player he was just two years back, when he dropped 15.4 points per game and shot 42.4% from behind the arc. In Dallas, he increased his percentage to 36% from the abysmal 32% in Washington, but that is still not good enough. If there was ever a game where the Mavs need a player to perform, this is the player and this is the game.

Bertans is the perfect pick to have a great game since shooters, generally, can have game-changing performances, even in the midst of shooting slumps. This is especially true at home in the playoffs. He needs to take more shots, as he only shot three times in the 18 minutes he spent on the court in the first game. The Mavs need to work hard to get him good looks, because if he can drain one or two of the bench, Bertans can get hot and turn around any game, whether it is a massive deficit he is erasing or a small lead he is ballooning. Thus, the Mavs can concentrate on getting good looks for the Latvian sniper, and Bertans can be their difference-maker for this game.

The Mavs will win Game 2

Even if Luka Doncic is not back, this team is very resilient. In the first game, it was only due to a great performance by Bojan Bogdanovic that the Mavericks really lost. They got good games from Jalen Brunson, who shot poorly but got 24 points on the board, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who also shot poorly but got 22 points in the game. Additionally, the Mavs shot 29-of-76 overall, including 9-of-32 from 3. They should be better in Game 2, Doncic or no Doncic.

The Mavs are playing at home, possibly with Luka Doncic back, and played an incredibly poor Game 1 offensively. They should have all the motivation in the world to go out and get one back on the Jazz. They will require adjustments and the Jazz to have an offensive game similar to the first one, but it is definitely possible. Even if Luka is not back, the Dallas Mavs will be winning Game 2 of this first-round matchup.