The Dallas Mavericks were already shorthanded heading into Thursday’s game with Maxi Kleber, Josh Green, and Dorian Finney-Smith all still sidelined with injuries, but things went from bad to worse as Reggie Bullock was ruled out with an illness just before tipoff. It is not COVID, but it will cost the 6’6 wing at least one game.
The Mavericks are without their four best defenders on Dec. 29. Finney-Smith and Bullock were key fixtures in last season’s starting lineup as they made their run to the conference finals. Their perimeter defense and shot-making propelled Dallas with Maxi Kleber getting the majority of the minutes at the five. Green has joined that group with his improvements, but all four are on the bench as the Rockets visit the American Airlines Center.
Who steps up for the Dallas Mavericks with Reggie Bullock out? They are dangerously thin on the wings for Thursday’s game as the Rockets look to pull the upset and snap the Mavs' four-game winning streak.
Reggie Bullock (illness) out vs Rockets: Who steps up for the Dallas Mavericks?
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie will play the majority of the wing minutes on Thursday night as head coach Jason Kidd will have to decide between going big or small.
Coach Kidd decided to start small with Frank Ntilikina joining Christian Wood, Doncic, Hardaway Jr. and Dinwiddie. Dwight Powell and Davis Bertans will play the frontcourt minutes off the bench. Kemba Walker and McKinley Wright IV will be the team’s bench guards, and Kidd could be forced to run some outside the box lineups on Thursday night.
Expect every starter to play 35-plus minutes if the game is close on Dec. 29. The Mavericks will have zero trusted options to turn to off the bench. Fans might even get to see the Mavs debut of A.J. Lawson or a few Jaden Hardy minutes against Houston on Thursday night.
Reggie Bullock is just dealing with an illness, so fans should expect him back in the lineup in short order. Until he returns, the Dallas Mavericks will be extremely shorthanded, but do not count them out. Nobody can stop Luka Doncic right now, and the 23-year-old superstar always gives his team a chance to win, so do not miss a second of the action.