Mavericks suffer major blow at worst possible time amid Timberwolves series

Dallas Mavericks, Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks, Dereck Lively II / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals, something they haven't done since the 2010-11 season. The Mavs beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday 116-107 to take a 3-0 lead.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving did their part, as they combined for 66 points, nine assists, and six steals. Doncic converted a two-point shot with two minutes left to help give Dallas a four-point lead. Irving scored a jump shot a minute later, giving the team a six-point cushion.

The Dallas duo has been the heart and soul of the Mavs' playoff success. Their relationship is what sets them apart from other NBA teams. It was mentioned that back in November the Mavs teammates spent quality time together playing spades.

Its obvious the Mavs' chemistry is at an all-time high. The connection the players have with each other, translate to buckets on the court. For example, the lob connections between Doncic and his two centers is so remarkable.

Dereck Lively II suffers neck injury at worst possible time amid Timberwolves series

Dallas' starting center has done an excellent job over the past two games. He scored 16 points and had five blocks in the team's Game 2 victory. He got into foul trouble in Game 3, but still had five points, three blocks, and three defensive rebounds. It's clear Gafford has increased his intensity against the Timberwolves and brought tons of energy to the team.

However, the biggest storyline on Sunday came when Dereck Lively II suffered a neck injury. The Dallas rookie fell when reaching for a rebound, and bumped his head into Karl-Anthony Towns' knee.

The Mavs center took a while to get up, as he laid on the ground holding onto his head. He eventually got up but looked dazed, as his teammate Markieff Morris helped escort him to the locker room.

Early reports indicated that Lively II suffered a neck strain and was questionable to return to the game. However, he was later downgraded to out.

The good news is Lively II did not suffer a concussion that we know of, but the bad news is that there is no timetable as to when he may return.

It seemed the Dallas rookie was on pace to have a wonderful game before the injury. He dropped six points, three rebounds, and one block in under nine minutes and was bringing outstanding energy.

Lively II had a great performance in Game 2. He scored nine points on 100 percent shooting and grabbed nine boards.

He does a great job doing certain things to help Dallas on both ends of the court. Lively II can use a pick-and-roll screen to set up the team with an open lob. He also can attack defenders from the top of the key out of the short roll and isn't afraid to use the big frame to get good looks.

Defensively, Lively II is a great rim protector. He isn't afraid to jump high for blocks or body down defenders for rebounds. Against Minnesota, the rookie is averaging 7.7 rebounds and one block.

Mavs fans can only Lively II's injury is not long-term.

Dallas is already without Maxi Kleber, and adding Lively II to that list would be detrimental to the team's frontcourt. Mavs fans can only hope good news await the status of Derick Lively.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on Dereck Lively II and the Mavs' quest to advance to the NBA Finals.