Dallas Mavericks players Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson missed Saturday’s win over the Orlando Magic due to health and safety protocols, and coach Rick Carlisle said it wouldn’t make any sense for him to speculate on how long they will be sidelined.
“The expectation is going to be that these things aren’t going to resolve super quick in a lot of cases, and I don’t know that we necessarily know what the time lengths are,” Carlisle said. “There’s a lot up in the air with this.
“Every situation seemed to be slightly different. We’re going to have to adjust to what our realities are.”
The Mavs defeated the Nuggets in Denver late Thursday night, and flew back to Dallas on Friday. But because of healthy and safety protocols, they flew back without Finney-Smith, Brunson and Richardson.
Forward Tim Hardaway Jr. said there was sort of an empty feeling when the Mavs got on the team charter on Friday to fly home without Richardson, Brunson and Finney-Smith.
“It just felt different,” said Hardaway, who poured in 36 points in Saturday’s 112-98 win against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center. “The mood felt different. It just didn’t feel like the plane was full. It felt like you were missing something.
“Coming back home to Dallas not with everybody on the plane, it kind of sucked. Just right now that’s the nature of the business, unfortunately, for now. You just got to deal with it. “
Guard Trey Burke, who tested positive for the coronavirus prior to joining the Mavs in the bubble in Orlando last summer, can certainly relate to what Brunson, Richardson and Finney-Smith are experiencing. Burke said he has talked to all three players via text messages to offer words of encouragement.
“As you all know I was in the Virgin Hotel up the street in Dallas before the bubble for 25 to 30 days by myself quarantining because I kept getting inconclusive results,” said Burke, who tallied 29 points in 21 minutes against Orlando. “It would come back negative, then it would be positive. It’s a real experience.
“It’s a lot of isolation time, a lot of time you get to yourself and I think that can go one or two ways as well. That’s just going to be my encouragement to J-Rich, JB and (Finney-Smith). I know it’s tough. It’s a tough time, and it’s unfortunate. But try to use this isolation time to do some meditation, do some visualization, work on yourself and you’ll come back prepared. I think that’s how I was able to come into the bubble prepared. I tried to use that time as wisely as possible.”
Carlisle said teams have to have a strategy for whenever they’re involved in these type of adverse situations.
“When guys aren’t available we’ve got to focus on what we have and not what we don’t have,” Carlisle said. “I don’t want to get into all the things that have happened over the last 36 hours, but things can change very quickly.
“Protocols can be adjusted, timetables and schedules can dramatically change in a very short period of time. And we’ve all got to just understand that this is a part of life in the NBA this year.”
Burke was ill and didn’t make the trip for the game in Denver. He said he received news Friday night that the Mavs had three players who had to enter the health and safety protocols.
“That’s the nature of this league,” Burke said. “You never know how things are going to go. You have to adjust, you have to adapt. This is all new for all of us and we’re going to try and work this thing out.
“Like I said I’m going to try to encouragement those three guys – I think we all are encouraging those three guys to not be down on themselves and to let them know that we’re looking forward to them coming back.”
With no NBA bubble this season, all tams are dealing with a different set of circumstances than they were confronted with last summer in the bubble in Orlando.
“We’re all dealing with a vast set of circumstances, so we’ve got to remain calm and we always got to have a plan for adversity,” Carlisle said. “We’ve been expecting that this kind of thing was certainly a realistic possibility and I think that can go one or two ways.”
While the Mavs may be short-handed, they’re expecting other players to pick up the slack.
“Right now I think we’re just trying to get our groove right now,” Hardaway said. “Unfortunately, we know that three guys are back in Denver – they’re back there in protocol. But at the same time it’s next man up.
“We can’t wait to have those guys back, but right now we’re going to make sure we hold down the fort for them and continue to do what we do best.”
Porzingis inching closer: Perhaps this may be the week that forward/center Kristaps Porzingis makes his debut this season.
Porzingis hasn’t played this season after he underwent surgery on Oct. 9 to address a lateral meniscus injury of his right knee.
“KP is getting closer,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But I don’t have an exact timetable.”