The Mavericks saw their final shot at the playoffs slip away on Friday with a 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls, guaranteeing they will finish in 11th place and out of the play-in tournament this season. The loss capped off a 6-17 slide since Feb. 11.
The team was so defeated by the time Friday arrived that it sat Irving and major contributors Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green and Christian Wood. Luka Dončić played, but possibly only because he promised to.
Even with half the team’s usual rotation out, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t look very happy after McKinley Wright IV missed a game-tying shot at the end.
“We were fighting for our lives, and understanding this is a situation we’re in, but the organization has made the decision to change,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said during his pregame media availability. “So, you know, we have to go by that and that’s something that happens. So the guys that are playing, we got to go out there and put our best foot forward, and we talked about that this afternoon.
“And the guys that are playing are gonna go out and try to play to win. You gotta be pros. You can’t cheat the game.”
Despite the changes, the Mavericks built a double-digit lead in the second half before a makeshift unit composed mostly of the team’s reserves and role players eventually let that entire lead get away.
“It’s not so much waving the white flag,” Kidd said after the game. “It’s decisions sometimes are hard in this business. We’re trying to build a championship team. With this decision, this is maybe a step back. But hopefully it leads to going forward.”
Kidd said prior to the game that All-Star guard Luka Doncic, who was listed as probable due to left thigh injury recovery, would play only the first quarter and then be shut down. Doncic was pulled early in the second quarter after logging only 13 minutes.
So this is how the Mavericks’ season ends?
The Mavericks had proven repeatedly this season that this team isn’t good. This team traded for Irving to pair him with Dončić and become title contenders. That last part wasn’t going to happen this season. In fact, it went worse than anticipated.
“He wanted to play,” Kidd said pregame. “So, understanding that, we talked about the minutes, especially with the other guys that are not playing. That’s what we came to as an agreement. He wanted to play. The minutes will be normal for him in that first run. From there, he’s done.”
This is a major change from Tuesday, when Dončić said that “When there’s still a chance, I’m going to play.”
Said Kidd on Friday: “We all said that. We want to have the opportunity to find a way to get in and we want to play until told otherwise. And today’s the day we’ve been told that we’re doing something different. He’s going to participate in the first quarter and then he’s done for the season.”
“Things change fast here. He’s going to play this quarter and then we’ll see where we sit going into Sunday, but most likely, he’ll be out.”
The Mavericks went into Friday’s play in 11th place in the Western Conference. Teams that finish seventh through 10th go to the play-in tournament. Oklahoma City has one game left on Sunday against Memphis, but that game is moot now.
The loss Friday ended any potential drama on Sunday.
The Mavericks have been disappointed with the twist the season has taken since acquiring Irving before the February trade deadline. They entered Friday’s game with a 9-16 record since Irving’s first game at the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 8.
They also feel like the talent on the roster to do some damage in the playoffs if they could have gotten there. Last year, they got hot a the right time and reached the Western Conference finals.
OnMyWay Is The #1 Distracted Driving Mobile App In The Nation!
OnMyWay, based in Charleston, SC, The Only Mobile App That Pays its Users Not to Text and Drive.
The #1 cause of death among young adults ages 16-27 is Car Accidents, with the majority related to Distracted Driving.
OnMyWay’s mission is to reverse this epidemic through positive rewards. Users get paid for every mile they do not text and drive and can refer their friends to get compensated for them as well.
The money earned can then be used for Cash Cards, Gift Cards, Travel Deals and Much, Much More….
The company also makes it a point to let users know that OnMyWay does NOT sell users data and only tracks them for purposes of providing a better experience while using the app.
The OnMyWay app is free to download and is currently available on both the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android @ OnMyWay; Drive Safe, Get Paid.
Download App Now – https://r.onmyway.com
Sponsors and advertisers can contact the company directly through their website @ www.onmyway.com