Mavericks Notes: Play-In Tournament, Doncic, Protest

With most of their early-season goals now out of reach, the Mavericks are focused on trying to earn a spot in the play-in tournament, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. It’s a far cry from where the team expected to be after last year’s run to the Western Conference Finals, but the players realize they still have a chance to salvage their season.

“Obviously the rankings don’t look great,” Maxi Kleber said. “But we’ve just got to do our job, have good practices, improve and stay together as a team.”

The Mavs entered tonight in 11th place at 37-40, just a half-game behind Oklahoma City for the final play-in spot. Townsend cites a Basketball-Reference playoff probabilities report that shows Dallas with just a 1.7% chance of finishing seventh and a 5.9% shot at eighth. The more likely scenarios are ninth (14.7%) or 10th (22.4%), which means having to win two play-in games just to make the playoffs.

“We know where we realistically are,” Kyrie Irving said, “and our destiny is in some other teams’ hands losing games.”

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Past mistakes are more to blame for the team’s downfall than the decision to trade for Irving, claims Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Goodwill says the organization erred by trading for Kristaps Porzingis, who turned out to be a poor fit alongside Luka Doncic, and in not recognizing the value of Jalen Brunson before he became an unrestricted free agent.
  • Doncic is committed to playing for Slovenia in exhibition games Aug. 11 against Spain and Aug. 12 against the United States, even though the dates conflict with Dirk Nowitzki‘s Hall of Fame induction, Townsend adds in another Dallas Morning News story. Doncic said he hates to miss the ceremony, but he’s committed to helping his nation try to qualify for the 2024 Olympics. “I think everybody knew he was gonna make it,” Doncic said of Nowitzki. “He was really very, very excited for it. I’m really happy for him.”
  • Friday was the deadline for the Mavericks and Warriors to submit information to the league office regarding Dallas’ protest of its March 22 loss, Marc Stein tweets. The league will have up to five business days to make a final ruling.
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