Just one year removed from making a run to the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks have missed the playoffs. Not only that, but with their loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, they have also been eliminated from even making an appearance in the Play-In Tournament, meaning they have missed the postseason entirely.
Friday night was a weird game, as the Mavericks sat most of their core pieces. The list included Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, and Christian Wood. However, Luka Doncic played for the first quarter, and after the game, Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic spoke about Doncic and the idea of benching guys.
“I really wanted to get there and play all 82,” Vucevic said via NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s very hard to do. Not a lot of people are able to, so it’s something I want to do for myself. It speaks about my continuity, staying healthy. I’m not a big fan of sitting out. Usually, I like to play if I can. And I thought it would be fun to play (Friday) with some of those guys who get less minutes. It was fun to play against Luka; he didn’t play the first (Mavericks vs. Bulls) game. But 82 will be an achievement for myself, something personal that I’d be proud of.”
Vucevic played a big role for the Bulls against Dallas. The big man finished the game with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for Doncic, he only played for a quarter, but he co-led the Mavericks in scoring. The superstar ended the night with 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists on 4-of-11 shooting from the field and 0-of-5 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Jason Kidd Sends Message on Luka Doncic
Doncic played the first quarter against Chicago but also stayed in the game for a possession in the second. When asked about the decision, head coach Jason Kidd said that the Mavericks wanted to help give Doncic a standing ovation when he checked out.
“[We wanted] to get him an ovation coming out for what he’s done this year for this franchise,” Kidd said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Ending of his normal run, he wouldn’t get the standing O. So, to be able to get him in the post, get him to score, and then for him to take a foul to come out so that people could recognize him coming out, that was the thought behind all that as we started. We told him before the game that he was going to go the whole first, and then [we would] figure out a way to get [him] a standing O and respect for what [he’s] done for this organization this year.”
Mavericks Under NBA Investigation
Due to the Mavericks’ sitting so many of their key players and benching Doncic after the first quarter, the NBA has launched an investigation against the team, questioning their motives for sitting so many guys.
“The NBA commenced an investigation today into the facts and circumstances surrounding the Dallas Mavericks’ roster decisions and game conduct with respect to last night’s Chicago Bulls-Mavericks game, including the motivations behind those actions,” NBA Spokesman Mike Bass said via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.