Since their upset win over the favored Miami Heat and their “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the 2011 NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks have not tasted even a sliver of playoff success.
The 2022 NBA playoffs will mark the seventh playoff appearance for the Mavs since their championship win 11 years ago. If they make it out of the first round, it will be the first time they have done so since 2011. Six playoff appearances, six first-round exits.
Calf Injury Puts Doncic’s Status for Start of Jazz Series in Question
Unfortunately for Dallas, an ill-timed injury to their best and most indispensable player has cast some doubt on if that streak will finally come to an end this year.
After having their best regular season since that NBA championship season, the Mavs (52-30) locked in the #4 seed in the Western Conference, setting up a playoff matchup with the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz (49-33).
But in their final game of the NBA regular season on Sunday, a 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs, Luka Doncic suffered a left calf strain late in the third quarter. Doncic had an MRI on Monday that confirmed his injury, and while he has not been ruled out for Sunday’s series opener in Dallas, there is currently no timetable for his return.
Did Dallas Make the Wrong Move by Playing Doncic in Attempt to Earn Better NBA Playoff Seed?
There’s a lot that can be said about Doncic even playing in Sunday’s game, of course. The Milwaukee Bucks, the reigning NBA champions, did not take that risk with their stars even though they lost out on the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
But the Boston Celtics did take the risk with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in order to snatch the #2 seed from Milwaukee. And Klay Thompson played 31 minutes in Golden State’s finale against the New Orleans Pelicans
At the same time that the Mavs were playing the Spurs, the Warriors were playing the Pelicans, and a Mavs win and a Warriors loss would have seen the two teams finish with the same record and therefore give Dallas the #3 seed due to winning the season series with Golden State.
Injuries can happen at any time though, and the risk was understandable due to Dallas’s position in the NBA standings. But now the Mavs have to sweat on their superstar’s availability as a result of taking that risk.
And if there is any team in the NBA that needs its main man to be a winning team, it’s Dallas.
2021-22 NBA Season Statistics for Luka Doncic
- Points Per Game: 28.4
- Rebounds Per Game: 9.1
- Assists Per Game: 8.7
Doncic leads the Mavs in all three categories, and no one comes remotely close. Among players who are still on the team–Kristaps Porzingis averaged 19.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG in 34 games before being traded to the Washington Wizards in February–Jalen Brunson is second in scoring (16.3 PPG) and assists (4.8 APG), while Maxi Kleber is second in rebounding (5.9 RPG).
For the second straight year, Doncic led the NBA in usage, and he assists on 46.0 percent of the Mavs’ made field goals when he is on the court. The only player with a higher percentage was Atlanta’s Trae Young, who assisted on 46.7 percent of his teammates’ makes when on the floor.
As one can imagine, this was all reflected in the Mavs’ results this season. In the 65 regular season games that Doncic played, Dallas posted a 44-21 record. But in the 17 games that Doncic missed, the Mavs were only 8-9. When the Mavs missed out on the #3 seed by just one game and were only four games behind the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, that makes for some tough reading.
Speaking of tough reading, the Jazz vs. Mavs series odds also make for some tough reading following the confirmation of Luka’s injury.
Utah Jazz (Western Conference #5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (Western Conference #4) NBA Playoff Series Odds
Series Odds on Monday, April 11
- Utah Jazz -115
- Dallas Mavericks -105
Odds via BetMGM.
Series Odds on Tuesday, April 12
- Utah Jazz -290
- Dallas Mavericks +235
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.
Game 1 Odds (as of Tuesday, April 12)
- Spread: Utah Jazz -4 (-114), Dallas Mavericks +4 (-106)
- Total: OVER 215 (-110), UNDER 215 (-110)
- Moneyline: Utah Jazz -180, Dallas Mavericks +152
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Jazz are not as strong as they were last season, when they were the top seed in the Western Conference and posted the best record in the NBA.
In fact, they have a losing road record for the first time since the 2017-18 season and have fewer road wins (20) than they did last season (21), despite playing five additional road games this season with the return to an 82-game regular season.
Home court advantage could prove especially vital in this series. The two teams split their four games in the regular season, with the home team winning each matchup.
- December 25 (at Utah): Jazz 120, Mavs 116
- February 25 (at Utah): Jazz 114, Mavs 109
- March 7 (at Dallas): Mavs 111, Jazz 103
- March 27 (at Dallas): Mavs 114, Jazz 100
But with Doncic’s status for Game 1–and perhaps beyond–uncertain at the moment, the Mavs are a hard pass to take Game 1 and to win the series.
If the Slovenian superstar can return for the series opener or Game 2 and show no ill effects of his calf strain, that outlook will change. For now, though, there are better NBA betting options to bank on for the first round.
The post NBA Playoffs Odds: Luka Doncic Injury to Doom Mavs vs. Jazz? first appeared on Betting News.