If the Mavs win their final two games of the regular season – Friday against Chicago and Sunday against San Antonio – they will need the Memphis Grizzlies to win a road game in Oklahoma City on Sunday for Dallas to quality for the NBA’s play-in tournament. That’s because the Thunder went into Utah on Thursday night and defeated the short-handed Jazz, 114-98.
That victory left the No. 10-seeded Thunder with a 39-42 record – half-a-game ahead of the No. 11-seeded Mavs, who own a 38-42 record. While the Mavs don’t necessarily control their own destiny, they still have hope that everything will play out in their favor.
Following Wednesday’s gut-check 123-119 win over the Sacramento Kings, coach Jason Kidd said of his team: “They still believe that they can get in. We all understand what the situation is. We need a little help.
“But we have to take care of our business, and this (victory over the Kings) was part of that process.”
“We needed to win this game (over the Kings),” Kidd said. “There was no room for error.
“We couldn’t lose this and hope that Oklahoma City loses two games. Now we just wait and watch, but we still have to take care of business on Friday.”
*Mavs guards Luka Doncic (left thigh injury recovery) and Kyrie Irving (right foot injury recovery) are both listed as probable for Friday’s game.
*Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (rest), and guards Zach LaVine (rest) and Alex Caruso (left midfoot soreness) are all listed as questionable for Friday’s contest. Meanwhile, guard Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery) and forward Justin Lewis (right ACL surgery) will both miss Friday’s game.
*Kyrie Irving scored 19 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Kings, finishing the contest with 31 points. Irving leads the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring at 9.5 points per game. Second on the list is Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo with 8.6 points per game. By the way, besides Irving, the only other Mavs’ player who scored in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game was Christian Wood with 12 points.
*The Bulls have already clinched the Eastern Conference’s play-in tournament No. 10 spot. Technically, the Bulls (38-42) could tie the Toronto Raptors (40-40) for the conference’s ninth play-in spot. But since the Raptors won the season series over the Bulls, 2-1, Chicago can’t move up and is locked into the No. 10 spot.
*Luka Doncic contributed 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in Wednesday’s victory over the Sacramento Kings. Doncic has an NBA-high and career-high 53 games this season where he’s collected at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. This is the fourth consecutive season Doncic has produced 49 or more games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
*The Bulls beat the Mavs, 144-115, in Chicago on Dec. 10. Luka Doncic missed that game with a strained right quadriceps. DeMar DeRozan (28 points on 9-of-13 shots), Nikola Vucevic (20 points on 8-of-11 shots) and Zach Levine (16 points on 7-of-11 shot) led the Bulls.
*Since the NBA All-Star break, Tim Hardaway Jr. has shot a red-hot 49.6 percent from three-point range (62-of-125). In Wednesday’s win over the Kings, Hardaway was 8-of-14 from the field – 5-of-8 from three-point land — and scored 24 points.
CHICAGO BULLS (38-42) at DALLAS MAVERICKS (38-42)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: 97.1 FM The Freak; 99.1 FM Zona MX (Spanish)