Dallas’ star guard Kyrie Irving plus another four key players will sit out tonight’s home game v Chicago but the game is a must-win if they want to make the play-in.
The team announced on Friday 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 sit out against the Bulls, essentially for precautionary reasons.
Irving in particular was instrumental in Dallas’ 123-119 win over the Kings this week, where he recorded 31 points, four rebounds and eight assists to help snap their three-game losing streak.
🚨 KYRIE IRVING. TAKEOVER MODE 🚨
He's up to 16 in the 4Q… Mavs up 5 on the NBA App! pic.twitter.com/Zba0OK5O72
— NBA (@NBA) April 6, 2023
The Mavs must win their Friday night and Sunday afternoon games against the Spurs, and the Thunder need to lose their home game on Sunday against the Grizzlies, for Dallas to clinch tenth seed and qualify.
All-Star guard Luka Doncic is listed as probable because of left thigh injury recovery but Doncic said he would play and that sitting out because the team is tanking is not what is happening.
“When there’s still a chance, I’m going to play,” Doncic said Tuesday. “So that’s not going to happen yet.”
Some Mavs fans have even admitted that they would like to see their team tank at this point because protecting their lottery position is a smart strategy at this point but owner Mark Cuban said on Wednesday: “The guys don’t want to do that,” Cuban said. “Players aren’t going to do that. Players don’t do that.”
Then again, this is the same man who Mavs paid a hefty $600,000 fine in 2018 for admitting that Dallas were, in fact, tanking.