The Dallas Mavericks are facing two major obstacles as the team looks to advance to the Western Conference semifinals at Walt Disney World.
By virtue of the Mavericks’ eight-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Friday evening, they are down 2-1 in their first-round NBA Playoff series.
Although, that’s not the biggest issue right now. All-Star and MVP candidate Luka Doncic exited Friday night’s game with a sprained ankle at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter. He was seen in a tremendous amount of pain heading to the locker room and did not return.
While the MRI results on the ankle are not back yet, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle indicated Saturday afternoon that Doncic will be a game-time decision on Sunday.
Mavericks season on the brink following Luka Doncic’s injury
A 2-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series against one of the best teams in the NBA is already hard enough to overcome. Add in an injury to one of the most valuable players in the Association and that’s magnified further.
Doncic, 21, missed 14 games during the regular season dealing with the same injury he suffered Friday evening. Dallas posted a pedestrian 7-7 record in those games. The team was a robust 36-25 in the 61 games Doncic suited up in.
Needless to say, Dallas would stand no real chance in its comeback attempt against the Clippers if Doncic were to miss just one game. That’s magnified with fellow star Kristaps Porzingis also hobbled.
Even if Doncic were able to go, there’s no reason to believe he’d be at 100%. That causes a lot of issues given that the star relies on his athleticism to create open shots and distribute the ball.
Being tasked with guarding a combination of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the other end, a hobbled Doncic would also be pretty much a net negative on defense.