The Dallas Mavericks clinched a postseason berth when they defeat the Miami Heat on April 4. Dallas is still fighting to avoid the play-in tournament. They sit fifth in the Western Conference at the start of play on April 5 but are just one game above seventh. Only the top six advance directly to the playoffs this season. Teams seven through ten are in the play-in tournament, which is further explained here.
Tim Hardaway Jr. lifted the Mavericks over the Heat on Tuesday night. He had a team-high 36 points and made ten 3-pointers to tie the franchise record. It was an incredible performance that continued a hot streak for Hardaway Jr.
The 29-year-old set a new career-high with 42 points against the Pistons on April 29. THJ started in both games where he went off after coming off the bench for most of the season. Should coach Rick Carlisle make a switch for the playoffs?
Should Tim Hardaway Jr. start for the Dallas Mavericks in the postseason?
Coach Carlisle has been consistent with the starting lineup. Injuries and COVID issues have forced the Mavs to make changes, but Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Josh Richardson have started in every game they have played in this season.
The fifth starting spot has been mixed and matched, but Carlisle is taking a long look down the stretch. Tim MacMahon asked him specifically about Richardson starting, but not always being in the closing lineup in a pregame media session on April 4. Carlisle responded with this.
"“Look, I think everything is fluid at this point. It is important, to this point, to keep as much consistency during a year that is so turbulent.”"
Carlisle decided to start Willie Cauley-Stein and Tim Hardaway Jr. against the Heat with Porzingis and Maxi Kleber out. The 2011 championship coach noted that THJ started in both of his recent unbelievable performances and called it, “something that helps him too” after the Mavericks’ April 4 win.
Were the two monster nights enough to put Tim Hardaway Jr. back in the starting five? Should the Dallas Mavericks open the game with the 6’5 wing on the floor in the playoffs? Here is the case for and against before making a final verdict.
Next: Case for starting THJ