Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber (back) out vs. Lakers
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks face the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. It is the second night of a back-to-back as the Mavs topped the Pistons on April 21. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak, but it was not all sunshine for the Mavericks.
Maxi Kleber suffered a back injury against the Pistons. He took a hard charge in the second quarter. Kleber came out of the game 30 seconds later. He returned for one more stint in the second quarter before being ruled for the rest of the night with a back contusion.
Kleber had no time to recover to face the Lakers. He will miss Thursday’s game, but the Mavericks are hoping he can return in time for Saturday’s second straight matchup against Los Angeles. Here is a look at how the Mavs will adjust without Kleber on April 22.
Who steps up for the Dallas Mavericks with Maxi Kleber out?
Coach Rick Carlisle shifted Kleber to the bench on Wednesday night against the Pistons. Dwight Powell started in his place and gave Dallas a boost of energy in their starting five.
Anthony Davis is returning for the Lakers on Thursday night. They figure to play two big men for significant stretches. The Mavericks will likely adjust by giving significant minutes to Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Nicolo Melli. Kristaps Porzingis is set to play on the second night of a back-to-back and should be out there for 30-plus. Dallas needs all hands on deck to slow down the defending champions on Thursday night.
The Mavs will miss Kleber’s floor spacing on the offensive end of the floor. Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.J. Redick need to step up and knock down shots to keep the Lakers defense honest on April 22.
The Dallas Mavericks can pull into a tie with the Portland Trail Blazers if they pick up a win on Thursday night. They will have to do it without Maxi Kleber, but the team should have plenty of motivation. Do not miss the game, and stay tuned for updates on Kleber’s injury as they become available.