The Dallas Mavericks have been downright brutal since acquiring Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline and because of it, they're in danger of missing the play-in tournament altogether. A report came out recently that the Mavs could shut down Luka Doncic and Kyrie in order to salvage any hopes of getting a lottery pick in the draft, but the Slovenian superstar closed the door on the rumors Tuesday.
Via Marc Stein:
“After practice today, Luka Dončić announced he's playing Wednesday night against Sacramento: “When there's still a chance [to reach the postseason], I'm going to play.” Dallas needs two more wins than OKC this week for a play-in spot.”
Not a surprise. The Mavs are currently one game back of the OKC Thunder for the final play-in spot and would have absolutely no chance of leapfrogging them if Luka and Irving didn't play. After all, there are limited role players around them now.
Jason Kidd's squad is just 3-7 in the last 10 outings and is currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Their quest to still earn a berth in the play-in won't be easy either as the Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls are up next on the schedule.
The biggest problem for this group is defense, ranking 16th in the Association. Although Luka Doncic and Kyrie are both showing out from an offensive standpoint, they're both liabilities defensively. Even if the Mavs do somehow get into the playoffs, it's hard to imagine them going anywhere.
Nevertheless, Luka ain't giving up. He's going to leave it all out on the floor.