DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving missed another game with injuries with the Dallas Mavericks getting tight on time to secure a playoff berth a year after a trip to the Western Conference finals.
Doncic and Irving sat out a second consecutive game against Memphis on Monday night. Doncic is dealing with a left thigh strain that required an MRI, and Irving has a sore right foot.
The Mavericks entered the game at .500 and eighth in the West — at risk of landing in the West play-in tournament or out of the postseason altogether.
“If we can get healthy, we feel that we can do a lot in the playoffs,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “But first, you’ve got to get to the playoffs. We we’ve got to win some games here.”
The All-Star pair of Doncic and Irving was out for a 112-108 loss in Memphis on Saturday night. They were joined on the sideline Monday by forward Christian Wood, who has a sore right foot.
The Grizzlies were without star point guard Ja Morant for a fifth consecutive game because of his issues off the court. Morant will miss at least one more, with coach Taylor Jenkins saying no determination had been made yet beyond that.
Morant is away from the team after posting a video last weekend in which he appeared to be displaying a gun at a Denver-area strip club.
“There are a lot of internal dialogues going on,” Jenkins said. “There are still things going on at the league level that we’re in communication with. Just fully engaged in this process and whatever comes next after these two games.”
Doncic’s MRI showed no significant damage his thigh, which has been bothering him for two weeks. He was getting the thigh treated during games while continuing to play before finally leaving and not returning in a 113-106 loss at New Orleans last week.
The injuries have slowed the process of Doncic and Irving learning to play together since the blockbuster trade that brought Irving from Brooklyn last month and gave Dallas two All-Star starters for the first time in franchise history.
Phoenix has a similar scenario after acquiring Kevin Durant days after the Mavs’ deal for Irving. Durant is out until late in the regular season after injuring an ankle in pregame warmups last week.
“There are a lot of us in the West that are trying to figure it out, and whoever can figure it out first will be in a better place,” Kidd said. “We feel that we are one of those teams that can figure it out. But again, health is a part of this.”
The Grizzlies lost their first three of Morant’s sabbatical before beating defending champion Golden State, which eliminated both Memphis and Dallas in the playoffs last season.
Memphis went 20-5 without Morant on the way to the No. 2 seed in the West playoffs last season. In the Grizzlies’ victory over Dallas to start the home-and-home, rookie David Roddy scored 17 of his career-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, when Memphis rallied from 11 points down.
“I think it’s a lot of factors,” Jenkins said of the success without Morant last season. “It’s not about doing more. It’s just about, in your opportunity, play better, just seek the opportunities.”
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