The Dallas Mavericks entered Sunday with a slim chance to earn a No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. With a win over the San Antonio Spurs and a loss by the Golden State Warriors against the New Orleans Pelicans, they would have grabbed it. They did their part on Sunday by beating the Spurs, but they may have just paid a hefty price in the process.
With the Mavericks up 18, star point guard Luka Doncic drove to the basket and banged knees with Spurs big man Zach Collins. Doncic immediately indicated that he was in pain and called for a timeout. He left the game from there and the Mavericks almost immediately ruled him out with what they are calling a strained left calf.
The Mavericks are reportedly optimistic that Doncic has not suffered a major injury. Doncic will fortunately have almost a week to recover as the Mavericks will not participate in the play-in round. Dallas, as the No. 4 seed following Golden State’s victory Sunday, will face the No. 5 Utah Jazz in the first round. That series will start no earlier than Saturday.
Doncic was initially not supposed to play in this game. He picked up his 16th technical foul in his last game, triggering an automatic suspension for the season finale. However, that technical foul was later rescinded. That allowed Doncic to play, but if he could do it over again, he’d likely just take the suspension.
If the past two postseasons were any indication, Dallas needs Doncic at his absolute best if it plans to make a run. He has starred in back-to-back series against the Los Angeles Clippers, but his teammates have failed to adequately support him in series that the Mavericks ultimately lost. If Doncic can’t carry the Mavericks on his back again these playoffs, their promising season might have been all for nothing.
Courtesy: CBS Sports