Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd was direct and to the point in regards to the health of superstar point guard LukaLuka Doncic.

And all he needed to make his point was remembering what transpired with former Mavs superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki sprained his left knee and missed the final three games of the Mavs’ 2003 Western Conference Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs. His absence played a huge role in the Mavs losing that series, 4-2, and losing out on a chance to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Fast forward 19 years, and Doncic has missed the Mavs’ first two games of their opening-round playoff best-of-seven playoff series against the Utah Jazz after he sprained his left calf in the April 10 regular season finale against – the Spurs. Although Kidd said the four-year veteran is making progress, there is no timetable for Doncic’s return.

“There’s decisions to be made,” Kidd said. “As an organization we’ve been in this seat before with Dirk when he was 23 with his knee against San Antonio in ’03.

“(Coach Don Nelson) made that decision to not play him (the rest of the series). Everybody wasn’t happy.”

After defeating the Jazz, 110-104, on Monday to square the series at 1-1, the Mavs head to Utah for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Whether Doncic will be ready to play in either one of those games, no one knows for sure.

However, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he has to prepare his team as if Doncic will play.

“I think people think about it, and I think that’s normal,” Snyder said. “He’s such a dynamic player that you have to. That said, I think Lukaplanning for Dallas is more than just planning for Luka.”

Snyder saw that first-hand on Monday after Jalen Brunson poured in 41 points, Maxi Kleber converted 8-of-11 on three-pointers and finished with 25 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie added 17 points.

“They’re obviously an excellent team even when he’s not out there,” Snyder said, referring to Doncic. “The things that Brunson and Dinwiddie are able to do in many respects are different than him, but they’re also able to create.

“(Davis) Bertans can still shoot no matter who’s out on the court, and they play a little faster. They’re a different team without (Doncic), but I think as part of your preparation you have to take both things into account the possibilities that he may play, and then obviously if he’s not going to play.”

Kidd said Doncic “is in a great place,” although he obviously wants to play at some point in this series.

“I think he’s definitely going in the right direction,” Kidd said. “He’s doing more each day.

“He’s been happy, he’s been joking. He’s doing everything he can do up to this point, and hopefully he can play soon. But if he can’t play, we’ve got to play without him.”

Then again. . .

“We’ve got to pay attention to history,” Kidd said. “We’ve been in this seat as an organization and that time is coming that we’ll have to make that decision either way.

“That’s one of the questions when you have almost exactly the same thing – both 23 years old. Do you play him or not? We’ve gone through this once before and we’re going to get right back in that seat again.”

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: The NBA announced Monday that Flower Mound native Marcus Smart has won this year’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

Smart, who graduated from Flower Mound Marcus High School in 2012, became the first guard to win the coveted award since Gary PaytonKleber and Gobert. won it in the 1995-96 season. And he unseats Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who won this award last year and also in 2018 and 2019.

Smart received 257 points and 37 first-place votes, while Mikal Bridges of Phoenix finished second with 202 points and 22 first-place votes, and Gobert was third with 136 points and 12 first-place votes.

“First of all, congratulations to Marcus,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s a terrific defender. I think not just the things that he does kind of physically on the court, but I think his tenacity and his leadership on the defensive end is someone I know our whole team, including Rudy, really, really respects.

“Asking me that question is a tough one obviously, because there’s a guy that plays on our team that was a finalist for that award and certainly has won it before and I think will continue to be someone that every year will be in contention for that award. But congratulations to Marcus and everything that he’s done.”

HARDAWAY ON DAD’S HALL OF FAME: Tim Hardaway Sr. was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame late last month, and his son was more than happy for the glorious accomplishment.

Mavs forward Tim Hardaway Jr. said of his dad: “It was amazing just to hear he had got the call. I already knew like a week before the news broke out, so it was great to absolutely just hear his take on it.”

Tim Hardaway Sr. to the Hall of Fame?Hardaway joins his two Golden State Warriors’ teammates — Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond – in the Hall of Fame. Mullin was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and Richmond was enshrined in 2014. The trio were known at Run TMC when they played together for the Warriors.

“It’s been a long time coming – the last of the Run TMC foundation,” Hardaway Jr. said. “I’m happy that he’s a part of it.

“I’m happy that he’s stressed and relieved now and ready to move forward.”

BRIEFLY: Coach Jason Kidd said guard Frank Ntilikina is making progress after undergoing a tonsillectomy last week. “It’s something I’ve never seen before in my career. He feels great, so he’s starting to do a little work.”. .Texas Legends forward Moses Wright was named Monday to the All-NBA G League First Team. Wright averaged 22.4 points and 9.8 rebounds and shot 53.1 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three-point range. “That an incredible award,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I’m happy for him. I didn’t get to see too much G League, but that’s great. That means that he’s doing something great.” Late during the season, the Mavs signed Wright to a two-way contract. . .With the 41 points he scored Monday and the 24 he scored in Game 1, Jalen Brunson has 65 points in the first two games of this best-of-seven series against Utah. That’s a compete turnaround from last season when he scored a total of 56 points in the seven playoff games against the Los Angeles Clippers. Brunson also became the first member of the Mavs to score at least 40 points in a playoff game and also finish the game with no turnovers. In addition, he joins Dirk Nowitzki (seven times), Luka Doncic (five times), Rolando Blackman (twice) and Nick Van Exel (once) as the only Mavs to score at least 40 points in a playoff game.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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