The Dallas Mavericks knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers last night 104-101 but lost a key player midway through the third quarter.
While leading 72-60, Luka Doncic tossed Dereck Lively II a lob. Albeit, the oop was a tad too high for even the 7-foot-1 Lively II. Nevertheless, the Mavs big man attempted to throw it down to no avail. He didn't catch the lob cleanly and ended up taking a scary fall, landing on his back.
Lively II remained down on the court for a few minutes, before being helped to his feet by his teammates and the training staff. Lively II was able to walk off the floor but put no weight on his left leg as he was helped to the locker room.
Dereck Lively II injury could pose catastrophic for Mavericks if serious
Although the fall looked frightening, Lively II was later seen walking around near the Mavericks' locker room. And according to NBA Insider Marc Stein, Lively II insisted he was fine despite taking such a hard fall.
If this injury proved serious, the loss of Lively II would be difficult to overcome. The rookie center has been a revelation in Dallas. It seemed as if the Mavs reached to select Lively II with the 12th overall selection in the NBA Draft, but he has been everything they've needed in a big man.
The former Blue Devil only averaged 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in limited action at Duke. However, he came on strong right away and has played an integral role ever since.
The Mavericks big man averages 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game in 24 minutes of action per game. He's also played with extreme efficiency. Lively II shoots it 69.4 percent from the floor.
Perhaps most importantly, Lively II leads the Mavericks in plus/minus at plus-46. His excellent performance to start the season hasn't gone unnoticed. He's quickly made a name for himself in the NBA as one of the top rookies in the league.
Losing Lively II for even a few games would be disastrous for Dallas. In the only game sans Lively II this season, the Mavs lost to the Raptors 127-116. For reference, Toronto only averages 112.0 points per game. Against Dallas, Toronto shot 49.5 percent from the floor and scored an astounding 72 points in the paint. Furthermore, the Raptors won the rebounding battle 50-38.
A Mavericks team without Lively II would likely look eerily similar to the iteration that played Toronto. A lack of rim protection, rebounding, and easy buckets would plague the Lively II-less Mavs.
If the Mavs starting five were to miss time, Richaun Holmes may be the most likely candidate to fill in. Last night, Holmes recorded four points, 10 rebounds, and a block in 23 minutes. The backup big finished the game with a positive plus/minus, of plus-3.
Going forward, starting Holmes at center may be enough to get by, but the loss of Lively II is a massive detriment. Fortunately, it appears as if Lively II won't miss much time if any at all.
For all the latest news regarding the Dallas Mavericks and Dereck Lively II, stay tuned.
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