Doncic injury puts playoff status in doubt as Mavs top Spurs

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic also wouldn’t have played for the playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks in a pointless regular-season finale without respite from the NBA.

The superstar was minutes away from finishing for the night against San Antonio when he strained his left calf. Now the Mavericks are waiting to see when their 23-year-old All-Star plays in a first-round series against Utah starting Saturday.

Doncic left Dallas’ 130-120 win on Sunday night with a 2:24 in the third quarter when he turned and stopped to run to the defensive end. As soon as he approached the calf, he called the medical staff and after the game had stopped, he hurriedly went to the locker room.

Coach Jason Kidd said he planned to sit Doncic for the rest of the game after playing the full third quarter, which is part of his normal rotation. He played all of the first quarter and part of the second as well.

This was among several ominous signs for the Mavericks: Doncic was leading the Mavericks in points (26), assists (nine) and rebounds (eight) when he walked away with an injury. He was still at the end of the game.

“Hopefully it’s not too serious,” said Kidd, who said he had not met with Doncic or the club’s chief of medical staff, Casey Smith, before speaking to reporters after the game.

The fourth-seeded Mavericks could have moved up one place, but needed New Orleans to beat Golden State when the Pelicans were sitting several regulars. The Warriors won 128-107.

The Spurs were already locked in last place in the Western Conference play-in tournament as the 10th seeded set to play in ninth-seeded New Orleans on Wednesday. The winner plays No. 7 Minnesota and the loser between the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.

“I can’t wait,” said Keldon Johnson, who led Spurs with 24 points. “I think it’s time for us to prove some stuff. I think everyone has that mindset, and we all know we can do it as long as we do it together.” “

Doncic would have been serving a one-game suspension against the Spurs if the NBA had not canceled his 16th technical glitch, assessed two nights earlier when he asked officials about a non-call in a spectacular win over Portland. had complained.

With the league’s third leading scorer cleared to play, Kidd said before the game his club was considering it as “the last dress rehearsal before the real season begins”.

Now Kidd must tackle the question of why Doncic was on the court and the Pelicans were behind double digits in New Orleans with no incentive to rally.

“We weren’t playing the New Orleans score,” Kidd said. “We were trying to get better with the longer layoffs.”

Dorian Finney-Smith scored all of his 16 points in the third quarter, when Dallas beat San Antonio 38-23 to break a 59-59 halftime tie. The Mavericks held on in the fourth quarter with a lineup filled by players not in rotation.

The Mavericks won all four games against San Antonio, the first time their Texas rivals won the season in a series.

Tip-ins

Spurs: G Lonnie Walker IV sat on a night with lower back stiffness, losing to Golden State ahead of Spurs on 24 points. … Dejonte Murray scored 17 points after missing the last five matches with a non-COVID-19 illness. … Josh Richardson scored 18 points against his former team. … Jakob Poelt had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Mavericks: C Dwight Powell set a club record with 18 consecutive shots in four matches. Coming into the season, Powell shared the previous record of 14 with DeAndre Jordan and Eric Dampier. He broke the record with his first bucket before the run ended on his fifth attempt, when he could not convert an alley-up pass from Jalen Brunson. He scored 5 marks out of 6 and secured 12 marks. … f Maxi Kleber missed his fourth game in a row with a pain in his right ankle, but Kidd said he would be ready for the playoffs.

it was funny at the time

Before the game, Kidd discussed with reporters how he might try to help Doncic manage his issues with techno. Kidd was under the impression that players get six techniques before a suspension in the playoffs. After being informed it was actually seven, Kidd said, “I’m telling him six.”

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