The Dallas Mavericks announced that Luka Doncic has a left calf strain, and his availability is in question for the first-round series against the Utah Jazz. What does this mean for the Mavs? MFFLs live in a positive world with immaculate vibes, so let's keep that mentality.
Doncic missing any time is a blow to the team, but there is reason to believe that the Mavericks can win a couple of games without Luka while they await his return. One reason is the defense. Doncic has improved his D, but the Mavs' unit centers around a team effort and making the correct switches.
While Reggie Bullock and Josh Green are excellent perimeter options, Dorian Finney-Smith still anchors the defense. Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson are both capable defenders, and while Dwight Powell does have a tendency to get pushed around in the paint, he never stops battling and never gives up.
Dallas Mavericks can still defeat Utah Jazz without Luka Doncic
The Mavericks' defense will continue its stellar play, even without Doncic. Maxi Kleber missed the team's final four regular-season games, but he is set to return and add a sturdy perimeter option that can protect the rim. The Mavs big men will struggle to stop Rudy Gobert, so they will have to focus on other areas if they want to defeat the Jazz.
If the wing defenders can slow down Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Luka-less Mavs have an excellent chance to win on Saturday afternoon. It would likely be a low-scoring game, but as the old cliché goes, a win is a win.
The Mavs also have quality 3-point shooting. Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith are averaging over 40 percent on their 3-pointers, while Jalen Brunson is north of 37 percent. Reggie Bullock, Davis Bertans, and Josh Green each shoot over 36.
The Luka-less Mavs will not win a shootout against the Jazz, but the 3-point shooting is strong enough that they could take a sub-100 point game. Also, having Dinwiddie instead of Kristaps Porzingis changes things positively for the Mavericks. Now, Brunson does not have to worry about being the sole playmaker.
Dinwiddie gives them the depth to potentially "steal" one without Luka. Home court, it turns out, is even more critical if the Mavericks superstar sits. They already struggle in Utah, even when Luka plays, and have not won a game in Salt Lake City since the 2014-15 season.
Perhaps Luka does play in Game 1. There are five days until the series starts, but even if he misses the first couple of games and cannot go until Game 3 or 4, there is reason to be optimistic.
The Mavs are still a standout defensive team with solid 3-point shooting and a couple of stellar playmakers. There is every reason to remain positive and put forth immaculate vibes. What do you think? Do the Dallas Mavericks have what it takes without Luka Doncic to win Game 1?