SAN ANTONIO – The Mavericks got some reinforcements back on Tuesday.
Dorian Finney-Smith (right hip) was back in the starting lineup after missing two games.
They also had Luka Doncic in the lineup, although the all-star point guard was fighting through a right wrist problem, a left thumb issue and continued soreness in his right ankle.
Doncic has missed 13 games this season with a variety of ailments, but the stretch drive is posing considerable challenges to him as he fights through things.
“He gets hit a lot,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And he got hit in the head the last game. He hits the floor a lot, so that’s one of the reasons the wrist becomes vulnerable. And in general, he plays a physical game both offensively and defensively.”
But it’s something he has to get used to, J.J. Barea said.
“That’s the way he plays,” Barea said. “But he’s learning. He’s got to learn from it. It’s a great experience going through it. Hopefully in the future, he learns how to deal with it a little better. It comes with the way he plays. He’s got the ball in his hands. The other team knows if they affect him, they can beat us. So they’re going to still go at him every night. He’s still a young kid, still learning. It’s a grind. He’s got the body for it, but it’s a lot of work.”
The Mavericks continue to be without Dwight Powell, who is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Plus, Jalen Brunson (right shoulder) is out indefinitely, as is Seth Curry with a left ankle sprain. Willie Cauley-Stein and Michael Kidd Gilchrist has been fighting an illness that is making the rounds on the team.
“It happens every year,” Barea said of the late-season injuries. “That’s why you need one through 15. You never know when you’re going to need them, but you’re going to need them at some point during the year. That’s why you got to keep everybody ready to go.
“It happened now. So hopefully by the time the last couple games hit and the playoffs start, we should be 100 percent healthy and ready to go.”
Adapting to changes: The scene wasn’t entirely different than usual on the first day of new safety measures in the NBA to deal with the ongoing coronavirus threat.
Players went about their business. Team personnel did what they do. Media members adjusted to new, temporary policies that include no access to a team’s locker room.
“It’s pro-active and a lot of thought and preparation has gone into it,” Carlisle said. “I trust the NBA. They do their homework before they make decisions like this.”
The Mavericks are being vigilant about taking all necessary precautions, but also are trying to keep some semblance of normalcy.
“You just got to adapt,” Barea said. “We got to do everything possible to make sure things don’t get more out of control. Anything for the game, anything for the health of everybody, not only players but everybody in the world.
“Everybody knows about it. We got informed about it. We told everybody to read about, it learn about it. The more information you get about it, the better. And just be safe. My routine stays the same.”