Rick Carlisle painted a bleak picture of whether Kristaps Porzingis will play in the win-or-go-home Game 6 of the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the longer it goes without a resumption of the NBA playoffs should be helpful for the 7-3 center and his teammates.

Porzingis, suffering from right knee soreness, has missed Games 4 and 5 in the series that the Clippers lead 3-2. Game 6, originally scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, will be rescheduled, possibly for Saturday or Sunday.

“He doesn’t want to close the door on playing and we haven’t, officially,” Carlisle said on Wednesday. “But I’m just saying that as much as he wants to play, I’m just not optimistic that he’s going to be able to.

“I hope like crazy he wakes up (Thursday) morning feeling really good. That’s not out of the realm of possibility. But I’m just saying today that, as hard as he’s working on this and as much as he wants to be out there, I’m not personally optimistic about it. And I hope I’m wrong.”

Fate could lend a hand.

The NBA postponed all three games on Wednesday when Milwaukee refused to take the court for their late-afternoon contest against Orlando. The move is a response to the latest act of racial controversy stemming from the Kenosha, Wis., shooting of Jacob Blake seven times in the back by an officer.

NBA players have been outspoken since George Floyd was murdered in late May that playing games in the bubble in Florida was about more than basketball. It was about having a voice when it comes to social injustice.

The players wielded that voice loud and clear with Wednesday’s actions.

Then, early on Thursday, all games scheduled for that day were postponed. It remains to be seen what the new schedule will look like. Players voted in a meeting on Thursday morning to continue the playoffs, although there was a faction that wanted to shut things down so that everybody could concentrate on social issues.

Carlisle had said on Wednesday that he had heard the talk about player boycotts. While that has happened, the good news for fans is that games will resume and the playoffs will move forward.

Now, the question becomes whether or not an extra few days between games 5 and 6 for the Mavericks might make a difference on whether Porzingis plays or not. Carlisle emphasized that there is nothing precautionary about holding Porzingis out of two games so far.

He’s injured, and doing all that he can to recover in time to make an appearance in Game 6, whenever that might be. If the Mavericks could win that game, they would have another win-or-go-home proposition in Game 7.

“KP is working around the clock with (the medical staff),” Carlisle said. “But I’m just not optimistic. Watching how this is going, we won’t know for sure until tomorrow because he wants to leave the door open – desperately wants to play.

“It’s a tough spot. I would like to be more optimistic than I am. If that (Porzingis not playing) is the case, it’s going to be because he’s unable to, not just simply because it’s sore. He’s played with things that are sore all year. And he’s a tough guy.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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