We’re down the home stretch! As much as I love writing about individual matchups, this part of the year is all about minutes and the motivation to play guys heavy minutes. I’ll note in each game the spots that could be dicey or the ones where the stars could really get up there to the upper 30s to low 40s in minutes.
Dallas Mavericks (back end) at Cleveland Cavaliers (front end)
Team Totals: Mavs 108.3, Cavs 106.3
Injury Report: Mavs didn’t submit yet, but they’re likely sitting guys; Evan Mobley (O, ankle), Rajon Rondo (D, ankle)
Mavs projected starters: Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell
Cavs projected starters: Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love
Kidd quotes: Said they were ready for a lot of switching when Gobert couldn’t play (might be similar on Mobley), said they know teams will switch and they have to have better ball movement.
Bickerstaff quotes: Said the injuries weren’t a distraction for the team, said Markkanen has been dealing with “a bunch of stuff” with injuries, said Lauri was a knee-to-knee issue on Monday, said Moses Brown “gave us great minutes” and “we need a boost in that area” with Mobley hurt, said he gives Markkanen credit for going to the three and four when they need him, said he closed with Windler over LeVert because he liked that unit ( Garland, Okoro, Windler, Stevens, Markkanen).
Stats and Notes:
*This one is tough with some rest likely coming for the Mavs, but then again maybe they’re out there after the Lakers game went to garbage time. The Cavs are not defending well these days, and losing another rim protector in Mobley should make them struggle even more. The Mavs are not playing great on defense anymore, but the Cavs may lack help for Garland here. The Mavs are making a run at the No. 3 seed while the Cavs want to avoid the play-in tourney, so the minutes should be up there (excluding rest spots).
*It’s a really bad spot for darius garland. He gets a really long defend in Dorian Finney-Smith, and those are the types of guys that have given him a little trouble. Plus, I have concerns the Cavs can score here, so I’m not too into him here.
*Caris LeVert could slightly benefit here with Garland running into a bad matchup, and the Cavs will have to lean into going smaller in a big way. While it’s a bad matchup overall, the other Cavs running into bad matchups could make him a favorable option.
*Without Mobley, the Cavs are likely really going to be upping the playing time for kevin love and Lauri Markkanen. The Mavs aren’t as great at taking away the 3-point line anymore, so they’re both options just on minutes volume. lamar stevens is fine.
*If Luka is a go, his matchup against Okoro is not a scary one. Luka did have a minor eye injury, so that’s something to watch.
*The Cavs should struggle as a whole on D, so there could be a lot of Dallas plays depending on who’s available. Hopefully, we have the injury report for the Injury Show to go through some of the details.
Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers
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