All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and four important Dallas Mavericks role players sat out Friday night’s 115-112 home loss to the Chicago Bulls, which knocked the Mavericks out of the playoff picture.
The Mavericks announced late Friday morning that Irving (right foot injury recovery), shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle soreness), small forward Josh Green (rest), and power forward/centers Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery) and Christian Wood (rest) would all sit out against the Bulls.
Dallas began the day tied with the Bulls for the tenth-best lottery chances and owes the New York Knicks a top-10-protected selection as the final payment for the Kristaps Porzingis deal.
“We were fighting for our lives, understanding the situation we’re in, but the organisation has made the decision to change,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said during his pregame media availability. “So, you know, we have to go by that, and it happens.” So, as players, we have to go out there and put our best foot forward, like we discussed this afternoon.And the players will go out there and attempt to win. You must be experts. You can’t get around the rules.”
Despite the alterations, the Mavericks established a double-digit lead in the second half until a shaky unit made of primarily of the team’s backups and role players allowed the whole advantage slip away.
“It’s not so much waving the white flag,” Kidd said after the game. “In this business, making decisions can be difficult at times.” We’re attempting to put together a championship squad. This decision is a step back. But, perhaps, it leads to progress.”
Kidd said before to the game that All-Star guard Luka Doncic, who was labelled as probable due to a left thigh injury rehabilitation, would only play the first quarter before being shut down. Doncic was removed from the game early in the second quarter after barely 13 minutes. He put up 13 points.
Doncic did not speak to the media after the defeat.
Doncic explicitly dismissed the notion of sitting out the final stretch to safeguard the Mavericks’ lottery position on Tuesday.
“I’m going to play when there’s still a chance,” Doncic said Tuesday when asked about sitting out the rest of the season. “So, that’s not going to happen.”
“I can’t speak for him,” Kidd said when asked how Doncic responded to the organisation’s proposal on Wednesday. But, when you look at it, I believe we all said that we wanted the chance to find a way in. So he’ll play in the first quarter and then be out for the season.”
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who paid a $600,000 fine in 2018 for openly acknowledging the Mavericks were tanking, said Wednesday night that “of course” he understands fans’ belief that preserving Dallas’ lottery place is the best long-term approach.
“The guys don’t want to do that,” stated Cuban. “Players will not do that.” That is something that players do not do.”
Kidd said that Cuban and Mavs general manager Nico Harrison made the decision.
Is Kidd on board with the decision?
“Those are my bosses,” Kidd said.