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Mavs at Heat Preview: Can Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving Salvage Season?

Dallas Basketball on FanNation 4/1/2023 Lance Roberson
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The Dallas Mavericks play the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving look to lead their team to a play-in spot.

The Dallas Mavericks have not lived up to their lofty expectations this season. Not even close. 

On Wednesday, following a 116-108 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, plus a tip-in at the buzzer for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a separate game, the Mavs remained out of play-in tournament eligibility in the No. 11 spot. Dallas must muster up a way to beat the Miami Heat on Saturday night to continue its postseason pursuit. 

Injuries plagued numerous teams this season, including the Mavs, but the Heat have also dealt with star players out of the lineup due to various ailments.

Since Luka Doncic returned from his thigh strain, the Mavs have a 1-4 record. Unlike Dallas, though, Miami weathered the storm to an extent, evident by its 40-37 record. When Jimmy Butler sits, and Bam Adebayo plays, Miami is 7-7; without Adebayo, the Heat are 3-2. 

Conversely, the Mavs are 5-10 without Luka Doncic this season. At a certain point, though, excuses don't make up for the losses. This time of year, excuses mean nothing. You just have to find a way to win no matter what.

The stakes are high, as the Mavs have fallen from grace, slipping out of play-in eligibility with five games remaining. With the possibility of Kyrie Irving leaving via free agency and Doncic's patience potentially growing thin in the process, the Mavs’ future as a championship-contending franchise stands in the balance.

Will Dallas recover from its 5-10 stretch in its last 15 games, or will the NBA postseason proceed without two dynamic stars in Doncic and Irving? 

Mavericks vs. Heat Injury Report

Dallas Mavericks

  • Frank Ntilikina (QUESTIONABLE - knee)

Miami Heat 

  • Nikola Jovic (OUT - back)
  • Bam Adebayo (QUESTIONABLE - hip)
  • Kyle Lowry (QUESTIONABLE - knee)

RÉCORDS: Dallas Mavericks (37-40, Miami Heat (40-37)

WHERE: Miami-Dade Arena (Miami, FL)

WHEN: Saturday, Apr. 1, 2023, 6:30 p.m. CT

TV: NBA TV, Bally Sports Southwest

RADIO: 97.1 The Freak

ODDS: The Heat are favored by one point over the Mavs.

NEXT UP: The Mavs face the Atlanta Hawks in their last Eastern Conference road trip on Sunday evening.

FINAL WORD: Jason Kidd has caught a lot more heat this season than he did last year.

Nico Harrison claimed the Mavs "haven't been good all year," and he's right. However, whether he means it or not, he also went to bat for Kidd in a public vote of confidence as he's "still the guy" for the Mavs. 

Regardless if they fire Kidd, It's hard to imagine Dallas not shaking up the roster significantly if it misses the playoffs, despite the risks it took this season. 

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