DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks just lost to a subpar team, falling Friday to the woeful Pelicans, 107-91. And now Dallas is absorbing more losses - and more woe - on the injury front.
Both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have been ruled out by Dallas for the Saturday night visit from the Memphis Grizzlies, a second-night-of-a-back-to-back circumstance that was going to be a challenge even with the Mavs' two best players.
But Doncic is dealing with left ankle soreness, and Porzingis is out due to a knee contusion.
This would be a good time for a step-up performance by any number of the Mavs, though we might pinpoint Tim Hardaway Jr. as a good candidate to take the lead for a team that just lost to a for in New Orleans that sports a 6-18 record. As our columnist Richie Whitt writes, the Mavs are "two-faced.''
And that won't likely do against Memphis, which is 12-10 (but also dealing with its own star-level injury issues.)
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The Mavericks are 11-10 as they deal with a recent skid that's seen them lose six of the last eight games. Maybe the issue is that the roster isn't "build'' properly - not to play defense, as coach Jason Kidd said this week. Or maybe too much is asked of Doncic, who did not play sharply on Friday.
"That game is on me," Doncic said. "My energy was down."
The Dallas Mavs will not have that excuse on Saturday. The game will not be on Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis, as they will be in street clothes.
The game will have to be on somebody else.