The Dallas Mavs say Luka Doncic, dealing with a neck strain, is feeling “better” - and his plan to play Wednesday’s Game 5 at the Los Angeles Clippers is big news.
But the Mavs might even go bigger.
Third-string center Boban Marjanovic's is expected by the Clippers to start the game, in the words of L.A. coach Ty Lue.
The Dallas plan, it seems would be that Boban would replace Maxi Kleber in the Mavericks' starting lineup for Game 5, with the 7-4 Majanovic playing in tandem with the 7-3 starter Kristaps Porzingis.
Some will call it "desperation.'' We'll reserve judgment until we see it unveiled for the 9 p.m. CT tip in L.A., while knowing that drastic lineup changes, while helpful, don't matter as much as Dallas' No. 1 storyline.
The Mavericks are listing their MVP Doncic as “probable” to play in the game as he gets what one source tells us is “constant care” to relieve the discomfort in his neck, an injury likely sustained in Dallas’ Game 3 loss and especially problematic in a Game 4 loss that evened the NBA Playoffs series 2-all.
“He seems to be doing better, so that's good news,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said Tuesday. “I'm not sure how much better, but he's definitely better."
The cervical strain in his neck limited Doncic’s freedom of movement in Game 4, though Luka claimed he was “100 percent.”
Also listed as probable is big man Maxi Kleber (Achilles soreness). He will come off the bench if Boban starts.
Doncic winced his way through Sunday night’s Game 4 loss at the AAC, to the Clippers, often clutching his neck, which was covered in black medical tape.
Doncic was stellar in Dallas’ wins in Games 1 and 2 but in Game 4 finished with a series-low 19 points on 9-of-24 shooting. He was 1-of-7 from the arc and 0-of-5 from the free-throw line. Boban, in that game, played 15 minutes and scored 12 points with six rebounds.
“I don't think that's important right now,” Doncic said on Sunday, deflecting questions about the injury. “We just lost ... but I played terrible.
He added that he will “be ready for Wednesday.”
CONTINUE READING: Mavs Donuts: Can Luka, Porzingis and Dallas Turn Around 'Terrible'?