The Dallas Mavericks and the rest of the NBA Playoffs teams in the Orlando Bubble are there for a reason. A platform to fuel changes in social justice. Finances, to be sure. And, ultimately, basketball.
And today at 2:30 p.m., maybe the 2019-20 Mavs' final chance to do the latter.
“We need to believe in ourselves,” Boban Marjanovic said on Saturda. “This is the main thing. We are professionals. We need to go out there and believe.”
WHAT'S AT STAKE The Mavs are down 3-2 in this best-of-seven Round 1 series. They have won their two games powered by the brilliance of Luka Doncic - and in one of those wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, they did so without Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis will watch today, sidelined by his knee injury. The rest of Mavs Nation will watch, too, hoping their Boys In Blue can extend the series to a Game 7, which would take place Tuesday night on the ABC-TV stage.
QUOTABLE “We’re going to do everything possible to get to a Game 7,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said on Saturday. “We just got to figure out a way to hang in and compete at a high level. Obviously we did it in Game 4. Game 5 was ugly really right from the start. And Game 6 (a Clippers blowout) ... Weve got to bounce back.”
INJURY UPDATE The Mavericks entered the weekend with some guys listed as "questionable,'' starting with Luka Doncic (ankle). Also on the list are Tim Hardaway Jr. (cervical strain), Trey Burke (ankle) and Dorian Finney-Smith (hips).
Key to it all: Is Luka OK?
“The ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said. “I think the extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice (Saturday), he looked pretty good. Going into (Sunday), I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”
BY THE NUMBERS Porzingis averaged 28 and 10 in two of these playoff games ... and did so with a torn meniscus. The "tough guy'' thing was real. The "soft Euro'' thing must go away.
MAVSCELLANEOUS To win this, it's going to take some creative button-pushing from Carlisle. “We’re going whistle-to-whistle with (rotations),'' he said. “Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has given us some really good minutes. He’s obviously an important guy. Bobi has done some very good things in this series. And Dorian and Maxi (Kleber) have been our two starting bigs.'' But today? Who knows? ... Today's officials are Scott Foster, Bill Kennedy and Sean Corbin ... Our DBcom Mavs Step Back Podcast calls for the suspension of Marcus Morris for his dirty play. Listen here, and then after today's game, heads-up for another fresh podcast from Dalton Trigg and Matt Galatzan. ... "People say basketball changed, but basketball never changed,'' Boban said. "The ball still needs to go in the hoop."
THE FINAL WORD "I appreciate all the support! I love this game and this is a part of it. Im gonna bounce back soon.'' - Kristaps Porzingis.