The Dallas Mavericks will be without superstar Luka Doncic on Sunday evening as he rests his sore ankle. Dallas is on the second night of a back-to-back set, and Doncic has carried a massive workload to lift the Mavs to eight wins in their last nine games. Add in the travel, and it made sense for Dallas to rest their superstar on Jan. 8 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder have won two of their last three games, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging over 30 points per contest. Oklahoma City and the Mavericks have split their first two meetings this season, and it will be no easy victory on Sunday night without Luka.
Who steps up for Dallas with Doncic out? What can fans expect from rookie Jaden Hardy on Sunday night in Oklahoma City? Here is a closer look.
Luka Doncic (ankle) out vs. Thunder: Who steps up for Dallas Mavericks?
Doncic had a 34-point triple-double on Saturday night, so fans can expect this to be a one-game absence. He will be back in the lineup on Tuesday when the Mavs take on the Clippers in Los Angeles. Still, Dallas will need multiple players to step up to fill the void on Jan. 8.
Spencer Dinwiddie will be the lead ball-handler and playmaker against the Thunder with Jaden Hardy moving into a more featured role. The rookie has scored 30 points in 36 minutes over the last two games, and he will be ready to get buckets on Sunday night too. Expect plenty of Hardy attacks against the Thunder, and it will be fascinating to see what he can do with additional minutes.
Expect Christian Wood to be the Mavericks' number one offensive option in Oklahoma City. The 6’10 forward should get plenty of post touches, and he will be the featured roll man. Dallas will need 20-plus from C-Wood if they are going to pull the upset on Sunday evening.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, and McKinley Wright IV could all see additional playing time with Luka Doncic out. Who will make the most of their increased opportunity? Tune in to find out.