The Dallas Mavericks topped the LA Clippers in an overtime thriller on Nov. 23 as superstar Luka Doncic returned after missing three straight games with ankle and knee injuries. Dallas snapped a three-game losing streak, but Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jalen Brunson was injured during the first half and did not return.
There was optimism he would not need to miss further time after JB practiced on Friday, but the 25-year-old point guard experienced soreness on Saturday and won't play against Washington. Head coach Jason Kidd was optimistic it will be the only game that JB misses.
The Mavs are short of ball-handlers and playmakers, so who steps up with Jalen Brunson out against the Washington Wizards?
Jalen Brunson (foot) out vs. Wizards: Who steps up for the Mavericks?
The Mavericks are keeping the same starting five they used against the Clippers with Willie Cauley-Stein opening the game at center. Brunson will be missed in the second unit. Frank Ntilikina is also out with a calf injury, so Trey Burke must handle the backup point guard duties. The Mavs need Burke to play well on Saturday night, including dishing out a handful of assists.
Maxi Kleber is likely to replace Jalen Brunson in the Mavericks’ closing lineup. He played down the stretch and in overtime against the Clippers. Kleber’s ability to defend multiple positions and knock down threes makes him the versatile option the Mavs love to put around Luka.
The Mavericks will need someone to step up and fill Brunson’s scoring. Will it be a combination of Luka, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tim Hardaway Jr. each netting a few more points, or does another player take on that ten to 15 points that JB gives Dallas? Tune in to find out.
Hopefully, coach Kidd is right, and Brunson is only forced to miss one game. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest updates on JB, and all things Dallas Mavericks this season.