The Dallas Mavericks are gearing up for the postseason, but have spent the 2018-19 NBA season building for the future. While they’ll miss out on the playoffs this year, the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, the outlook in free agency and of course Luka Doncic have left the arrow pointing up. But there are still games left to be played, and the Mavericks seem to be treading lightly with their rookie phenom.
After Doncic missed Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a right knee contusion, the Mavericks are hopeful to have him back in the mix on Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans. And from the sound of it, the outlook appears to be positive.
We’re going to take a look at the Mavericks roster and starting lineup against the Pelicans, along with the latest on Doncic and his outlook for Monday’s game.
Luka Doncic Injury Status
After Doncic entered Saturday with a questionable tag due to the knee contusion, the team played it safe by holding him out of the mix. But a positive update came on Sunday which has his status pointing in the right direction. The young guard/forward has been upgraded to probable from questionable for this game, as Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News revealed.
It’s a great sign, and not all that surprising. The injury didn’t appear to be serious, as Doncic logged 35 minutes two days prior to the Mavericks’ previous game. That came during a tough 100-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets and the 20-year-old posted a near-triple-double with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Mavericks Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Pelicans
*Notates expected starter
C: Dwight Powell*, Maxi Kleber, Salah Mejri
PF: Dirk Nowitzki*, Dorian Finney-Smith
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.*, Justin Jackson, Kostas Antetokounmpo
SG: Jalen Brunson*, Courtney Lee, Ryan Broekhoff
PG: Luka Doncic*, Devin Harris, Trey Burke, Daryl Macon
At this point, it would be surprising if Doncic sits out, but in his absence against the Cavaliers, we saw a number of players step up. During the 121-116 win, seven players scored in double figures while Tim Hardaway Jr. (22 points), Jalen Brunson (16 points, seven assists), Dwight Powell (16 points) all stepped up.
Dirk Nowitzki played 29 minutes but has seen his playing time increase as the season has drawn closer to its end. He finished the game with 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
One of the most well-rounded and impressive performances came from Maxi Kleber off the bench, though. He logged 25 minutes and posted 18 points with 12 rebounds while knocking down three shots from beyond the arc. Although the minutes may be cut down for a few players with Doncic back in the mix, it’s apparent the Mavericks roster is meshing currently.