“F’ the conversation!”

The demonstrative Rudy Gobert put a verbal exclamation mark on the Dallas Mavericks’ Game 4 loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

Dallas had their chances in Luka Doncic’s 2022 playoff debut, and Doncic scored 30 in the 100-99 loss. But Gobert’s guys – perhaps tired of hearing they’re an in-fighting group or an inferior team – won in the clutch, on both sides of the court.

Rudy’s opinion?

To set up this day…

The Mavs snapped an 11-game losing streak at Utah with their 126-118 victory in Game 3, reclaiming home-court advantage in this best-of-seven series.

Mavs star Luka Doncic had yet to play in the playoffs due to left calf strain. He was officially listed as ‘doubtful’ after playing 5v5 on Thursday and Friday. Doncic said he didn’t feel any pain in his calf. Coach Jason Kidd on Doncic’s Game 4 hopes:

“Optimistic? That’s a good word,” Kidd said Friday of Utah.

FIRST DISTRICT: UTAH 24, DALLAS 23

Doncic started and closed the period, moving with determination to push Dallas to an early lead on two easy buckets by him, plus an alley-oop to Dwight Powell.

luka jaz 1
luka jaz 2

Doncic (nine minutes, seven points, three rebounds and an assist) also hit from distance in the first)….

Donovan Mitchell has 12 points to lead Utah.

All three games in the series were decided by eight runs or less. Jalen Brunson has been the elite, returning the ball just three times in the three games. On the series, the Mavericks have only 19 turnovers against 39 for the Jazz.

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz
Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz

HALF-TIME: UTAH 54, DALLAS 42

Luka Doncic hit a late 3 and then a floater at the halftime buzzer to make it a little prettier…

This 3…

This float…

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But while the shots were nice, the dash isn’t.

Doncic has 14 points in 16 minutes; Donovan Mitchell has 17.

Dallas is down 12 at the break as they shot 31.7 percent from the floor and 20.8 from 3. Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie, two of Luka’s top assists, combined to shoot just 3 for 15.

DID YOU KNOW: The Mavs receive a bonus for their success in the regular season and their participation in the playoffs? As Eddie Sefko reports, Dallas currently has $472,316 to split among players.

RECORDS:DALLAS MAVERICKS (2-1) at UTAH JAZZ (1-2)

WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2022 • 3:30 p.m. CT

LOCATION: Vivint Arena (Salt Lake City, UT)

TV/RADIO: TNT, BSSW, 97.1 L’Aigle (KEGL)

INJURY REPORT IN DALLAS: Luka Dončić (left calf strain) is questionable; Tim Hardaway Jr. (left foot surgery) is out; Frank Ntilikina (healing) is questionable.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz
Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic

ODDS: The Mavs are currently 6 point underdogs at Jazz.

NEXT: All the remaining games of the Mavs first round playoff series below:

Game 5 in Dallas: Monday, April 25 at 8:30 p.m. CST on TNT

Match 6: Thursday, April 28, TBD

Game 7: Saturday April 30, TBD

FINAL SCORE: Utah 100, Dallas 99.

And, said coach Jason Kidd, looking forward to Game 5…

“Now we just have to protect the house.”