The Utah Jazz juggernaut continues to roll.
The Jazz own the NBA’s best record (14-4) a quarter of the way into the 72-game schedule after extending their winning streak to 10 games Wednesday night with a 116-104 decision over the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
Utah has outscored opponents by 153 points during the roll, which is the longest winning stretch in the league this season. The Jazz have prevailed in nine of the 10 games by double digits, the lone exception being a road victory over the Denver Nuggets, the team that eliminated Utah in the Western Conference playoffs last season.
“It’s exciting, but it’s really early in the season,” said Utah All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who had season highs of 29 points, 20 rebounds and three steals and also blocked three shots versus Dallas. “Our goal is obviously to be one of the best teams in the league, but it’s really to be ready for the playoffs.”
The Jazz have trailed in the fourth quarter for a total of 57 seconds during the 10-game run, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Utah built a 25-point lead during the third quarter and cruised over the Mavericks despite being on the second night of a back-to-back and missing All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell due to a concussion.
Joe Ingles filled in for Mitchell in the starting lineup, scoring a season-high 21 points (7-of-11 from 3-point range) and dishing out eight assists, seven of which led to Gobert dunks or layups. Jordan Clarkson, an early Sixth Man of the Year candidate, also had a season-high performance with 31 points.
“We’re trying to create our identity — getting up the floor, playing fast, defending, shooting 3s, getting in the paint,” Clarkson said. “The biggest thing we harp on is defensively. We’re trying to have no slack on that end.”
After making roster changes focused on upgrading offensively, the Jazz slipped defensively last season, when Utah ranked 13th in the league, allowing 109.3 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz, a top-three defense the previous three seasons, is back in familiar territory, ranking third in the league at 106.7 points allowed per 100 possessions.
Utah ranks fifth in offensive efficiency (114.2), the only team in the top five in both categories. The Jazz, 16-of-41 from long range against Dallas, are on pace to be the most prolific 3-point shooting team in NBA history, with 16.6 made treys per game.
“We’ve figured out the style and pace and stuff that we want to play at,” Ingles said. “It’s just a really fun group to play with. We play for each other. There’s no egos involved. It’s not as unsalvageable as people think. It’s just a really cool group. Different guys step up at different times. We play the right way. We’re unselfish. We defend.
“But we’re not satisfied. We’re not going to get over the moon over one win or 10 in a row.”