Ten brave men.
That’s what the Mavericks were down to Sunday evening when they tried to complete a perfect home stand.
The NBA’s war of attrition clearly is in full swing.
The Mavericks were missing a slew of players against the Pacers, but they aren’t the only ones at this time of the season. A bunch of teams are fighting injuries and, like the Mavericks, a flu-like bug that has been making the rounds lately.
No, it has nothing to do with COVID-19, although the Golden State Warriors felt the need to rule out the coronavirus in its release about Steph Curry contracting the Influenza A virus.
No, the Mavericks simply are a victim of the wear and tear that a long NBA season inflicts on players.
“It’s a lot of teams that have a ton of injuries,” Pacers’ coach Nate McMillan said. “With the schedule this season games are coming so fast most teams are playing every other night. You’re missing more games than when you have a couple days in between games. It’s a part of it.”
The Pacers weren’t immune. They found out that starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon would miss some time with a hip/rear/thigh injury and former Maverick Doug McDermott missed Sunday’s game with a foot problem.
The Mavericks weren’t in a sympathetic mood. They were without Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) for the second game in a row and Seth Curry missed Sunday’s game with a sprained left ankle suffered Friday against Memphis.
They also were missing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was out with an illness that has been making the rounds.
All of this was in addition to Jalen Brunson, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder sprain, and Dwight Powell, who is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Coach Rick Carlisle said that the Mavericks aren’t sure how soon anybody will be returning from the MASH unit. The Mavericks have games Tuesday at San Antonio and Wednesday at home against Denver.
“I hope so, but it’s uncertain,” Carlisle said about getting any reinforcements back against the Spurs. “I thought there was a good chance we’d get Dorian back tonight, but he wasn’t quite ready. So anytime you’re down bodies, it makes it tougher.
“But we got a deep roster. We got enough to win games. It comes down to doing little things better.”
The Mavericks didn’t do enough things well down the stretch as they went down 112-109 to the Pacers on Sunday.
Carlisle has patched things together throughout this season. Sunday was the 27th different starting lineup the Mavericks have used this season.
“It is becoming a bit of a battle of attrition,” Carlisle said. “This is why you build a deep roster.”
Speaking of health concerns: The Mavericks and the rest of the NBA/entire world are monitoring the events of the coronavirus that seems to be touching every aspect of life.
Carlisle said he believes education is the key to understanding and controlling the virus.
“I’m married to a beautiful infectious disease doctor so I feel great,” Carlisle said, referring to his wife, Donna. “I encourage everybody to get educated the way I’ve been educated about it. We just got to do the right things. Knowledge is the No. 1 first step.”
Saluting International Women’s Day: The Mavericks celebrated the important day Sunday by honoring women of all ages during Sunday’s game.
Among those featured was assistant coach Jenny Boucek, who has been on Carlisle’s staff for two seasons.
“Jenny does a great job for us,” Carlisle said. “She’s a great communicator with the players. She’s really helpful to our staff because she’s been a longtime head coach in the WNBA and head coaching experience is something that’s important to have on your staff.”