At the end of the season, Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson will be an unrestricted free agent, and Monday’s performance in Game 2 of the Mavs’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz could have earned him a few extra dollars.
Brunson had a career-high 41 points (6-10 3FG), eight rebounds, five assists, and zero turnovers as the Mavs defeated the Jazz 119-104 at American Airlines Center to tie the series at one.
This was Dallas first home win in the playoffs since 2015.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Utah.
Brunson became the first player in team history with 40 points and 0 turnovers in a playoff game, and he joined Luka Doncic and Rolando Blackman as the only Mavericks to record 40-8-5 in a postseason game.
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd believes Brunson has done enough to get paid this summer.
“I don’t know if he needs an agent, but I’ll put my name in the hat,” Kidd said. “It’s not just what he did tonight. It’s not what he’s going to do going forward. He’s already done the work this season. He’s showing that he deserves to be paid. He does his job at a very high level, and he’s a winner. Hopefully, he can pay me for what I just said.”
With Doncic missing his second straight game with a left calf injury, Brunson carried the load and then some.
“I was just playing how the defense was kind of giving me,” Brunson said. “Just seeing how they were defending certain things—just stepping in confidentially into certain shots. I think I started 5-for-5, maybe. Yeah, the 5-for-5 start is great, but I had the same mentality when I was 0-for-5 last game or something like that. The mentality stays the same. You can’t fluctuate whenever he’s in or out. You need guys to make plays. He has a lot on his shoulders. We need guys to get into the paint and make plays to take the extra pressure off of him.”
For now, Brunson and Maxi Kleber, who scored 25 points, including a career-high eight threes, saved the Mavs’ season.
This series would have probably been over if Dallas had gone down 0-2 heading to Utah for Games 3 and 4.
For now, Dallas celebrates the win and continues to hope they can get Doncic back at some point in this series.