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Give the Dallas Mavericks credit. Once it became clear that they would be playing Game 1 of their first-round series against the Utah Jazz without Luka Doncic, they easily could've folded. Instead, they pushed the Jazz to the absolute brink, controlling much of the first half and eventually overcoming a double-digit second-half deficit to nearly steal a Game 1 upset.

Instead, they came up a few points short. Utah took Game 1 on the road, 99-93, and now Dallas has to see if it can find some way to respond in Game 2 or risk needing to win three road games in five tries to take the series. With all of the questions surrounding Doncic's health, that seems like a nearly impossible task.

So as the Mavericks try to regroup for Game 2, let's take a look back at Game 1. Here are the major takeaways for these two teams with one game in the books and as many as six more still to come.

1. Luka Doncic, you are not

Remember during the Rick Carlisle era when Dallas almost always had two high-end ball-handlers on the floor? That was a staple for Dallas and one of the biggest reasons their benches typically managed to be among the best in the league. But the Mavericks have grown extremely dependent on Doncic in recent years, and that was on full display in this game.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson tried to share the burden, but combined to shoot just 15 of 39 from the field in the loss. Those 39 attempts represented more than half of the total field goal attempts for Dallas in this game. The Mavericks were near the bottom of the league in assists all year, but were even worse Saturday in coming up with just 17 for the game.

There's no proper way to replace a force of nature like Doncic, but on Saturday, the Dinwiddie-Brunson combination tried to replicate him in the aggregate. They were not up to the task. If the Mavericks keep trying to play Luka ball without Luka, they're going to lose. Dinwiddie and Brunson cannot come close to matching what he does. If the Mavs are going to make this thing competitive until their best player comes back, they are going to have to find a way to make their offense a bit more egalitarian.

That's going to be an issue considering the way this roster was constructed. It's not exactly overflowing with ball-handlers because a team with Doncic doesn't need many. Dinwiddie and Brunson are the only comfortable attackers left here, and they were frequently the only credible ball-handlers on the floor for Dallas. That makes life too easy for Utah defensively, so head coach Jason Kidd is going to have to find some way to make threats out of the rest of his roster.

2. Bojan Bogdanovic's skip passing saved the day

Dallas may be limited on ball-handling, but Utah has plenty of it. Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley give the Jazz elite guard play for 48 minutes, and in the playoffs, when their workloads go up, the ball-handling demands on role players tend to go in the other direction. The Jazz tend not to ask for much out of Bojan Bogdanovic in that respect, but he showed off a very valuable if underused skill when his team needed it most. 

With the offense stalling in the fourth quarter, the Jazz turned to Bogdanovic in a favorable matchup. With the much smaller Brunson on him, Bogdanovic whipped a skip pass across the court to Royce O'Neale, setting up a 3 by Donovan Mitchell which pushed the lead back up to seven:

Two possessions later, Bogdanovic did it again. This time, it led to free throws for Mitchell:

Shooting is Utah's best offensive attribute, but you don't earn a No. 1 ranking without a bit of craft. The Jazz are so good on offense because their best players can all do a little bit of everything. Bogdanovic, nominally a role player, is mostly here to make shots. But when the matchups are right? He can turn into something a bit more proactive. Joe Ingles could too once upon a time. That's what lifts Utah's offense from good to great. Mitchell and Conley can create everything … but they don't have to.

3. Redemption for Rudy Gobert

Every year, Utah underperforms in the playoffs and every year, Rudy Gobert gets blamed for it. Last season was a new low as the Clippers rained 3s down on the Jazz and Gobert, a drop-coverage center by nature, had no response for their five-out lineups. Never mind the fact that he had to protect the rim because his teammates couldn't deny dribble penetration. Bad playoff defense with Gobert on the floor made Gobert a bad playoff defender in the minds of far too many basketball fans.

Game 1 was a nice reminder that no, Gobert is not the problem for the Jazz defensively. If anything, he's the only thing that's going right for them on that end of the floor. Utah out-rebounded Dallas by 19 and scored 14 more points than the Mavericks in the paint. That was no accident. The Mavericks settled for floater after floater for fear of testing Gobert near the basket.

Nobody is going to give Gobert credit for locking down the Mavericks without Doncic. Until he gets the Jazz deep into the playoffs, the narratives surrounding him will persist. But there are very few players on Earth who can dominate a playoff game with one field goal attempt. Gobert is one of them. He proved that Saturday.