DALLAS — Dereck Lively II played a pivotal role in the Dallas Mavericks' series-clinching 117-116 Game 6 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lively finished the game with a 12-point, 15-rebound double-double. The Mavs rookie center was able to overcome the pressure of the NBA playoffs, and Lively shared a tribute on his Instagram story honoring his late mother after the game, via ClutchPoints.

“Love u momma, Miss u momma, Just sit back n watch,” Lively wrote.

Lively lost his mom right before the postseason began after she endured a long battle with cancer. He has leaned on his teammates and coaches during this difficult time. The Mavericks have been there for Lively.

Lively has impacted the Mavs in a positive manner during the postseason. He had a number of big games against the Thunder during the Western Conference Semifinals.

“It is amazing, I know he's going through a lot,” Derrick Jones Jr. said of Lively. “We are all there for him. He makes it a lot easier for us because he comes to work. He comes in with a smile on his face, he shows that he's not bothered but we know. We all are there for him. We talk to him all the time. That's my little homie. I mean, he's a lot taller than me, that's my lil' bro. I'll go to bat for D-Live any day.”

Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II shining in NBA playoffs

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) defends during the second half in game six of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

At just 20 years old, Lively has displayed maturity well beyond his years. He speaks with confidence and offers wisdom.

Lively has not only become a fan-favorite, but it is clear that the Mavericks love everything he brings to the team.

“It was amazing to see plus 26 in a playoff game,” Luka Doncic said of Lively. “He's doing this while being a rookie. He has unbelievable potential. I'm just glad the Mavs drafted him.”

“I don't think we took him out in the second-half once he entered the game,” Jason Kidd said of Lively. “I thought he did an incredible job of imitating Moses Malone…. He grabbed all the rebounds, he gave us second and third opportunities. He competed and what I love about him is his voice, he's one that's gonna talk. He's blocking three-point shots, he's executing the gameplan and he's gotta be fun to play with as a teammate because he's fun to coach.”

Lively is averaging 8.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the playoffs so far. He brings energy and hustle as well. Lively is often seen tapping the ball back out to a teammate in order to keep the play alive. He also challenges opposing scorers from all areas of the floor. And of course, Lively is an excellent finisher on lob opportunities.

The Mavericks feature stars such as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but Dallas has needed Dereck Lively II's contributions throughout the playoffs.