Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Exum, Kidd, Cuban

For a third straight NBA Finals game, Luka Doncic is the only player to show up on the injury report for the Mavericks. However, after being listed as questionable heading into Game 2 due to three separate ailments, Doncic is considered probable to play on Wednesday, and his right knee sprain and left ankle soreness are no longer mentioned on the injury report, notes Mike Curtis of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

Doncic’s thoracic contusion is now the only injury listed. As Tim MacMahon and Malika Andrews of ESPN reported on Tuesday, the All-NBA guard received a pain-killing injection to treat that issue prior to Game 2 and will likely get another injection ahead of Game 3.

Here are a few more Mavs notes as the team looks to begin erasing its 2-0 deficit:

  • Reserve guard Dante Exum has played just 16 minutes in the first two games of the Finals, but he knocked down his only shot of the series (a three-pointer) and has been a +11 in his limited minutes. Head coach Jason Kidd sounds open to using Exum a little more in Game 3, as Eddie Sefko of relays. “I thought that Exum did a great job in Game 2,” Kidd said. “We’ll see if we can get that combination out there a little more as a third ball-handler. He’s one of the few that has made a three in this series. We’re going to need that a little bit more from him.”
  • After referring to Jaylen Brown as the Celtics‘ best player on Saturday, Kidd insisted to Sam Amick of The Athletic that his comments weren’t meant to generate controversy and that he wasn’t trying his hand at gamesmanship. “It wasn’t mind games,” Kidd said. “But for whatever reason, everybody took it that way. … My whole thing was that, watching the Eastern Conference (playoffs), like, he has been (the Celtics’ best player). No one ever said I was wrong. … Like, I was just giving it from a point of view of watching. There wasn’t no mind games. I was just making an observation.” Kidd also pointed out that he and Brown share an alma mater (Cal), hinting that that connection might have factored into his stance, Amick adds.
  • Longtime Mavericks majority owner Mark Cuban, who sold a controlling stake in the franchise earlier this season, spoke to Steve Bulpett of about the state of the NBA and the growing global popularity of the sport, among other topics. Cuban contended that the introduction of NIL deals in college basketball has actually made life easier for NBA teams. “It keeps kids in school longer, and, more importantly, they know how to manage their money,” he said.
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