DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic won’t play for the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their playoff series against Utah on Saturday because of the left calf strain the All-Star guard suffered in the regular-season finale.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said before the opener of the best-of-seven series that Doncic is day to day. The coach wasn’t sure about Doncic’s possible availability for Game 2 on Monday night.
“We’ll see, the first step is to see how he feels today,” Kidd said, who described Doncic as smiling and laughing the past few days. “He’s doing things he supposed to do to hopefully play in this series.”
Jalen Brunson, who averaged 16.3 points per game in the regular season, will be the starting point guard in Doncic’s place.
Kidd had said throughout the week that Doncic was in great spirits. But Doncic didn’t practice Thursday, and the team didn’t practice Friday.
Doncic finished the regular season as the NBA’s third-leading scorer at 28.4 points per game. He was the only player in the league to average at least 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game.
The 23-year-old Doncic was hurt last Sunday night in the third quarter of what proved to be a meaningless home game for the Mavericks. That win over San Antonio had no impact on Dallas’ standing as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, and opening the playoffs at home for the first time since its NBA championship season 11 years ago.
He wouldn’t have been able to play in that finale against the Spurs if the NBA hasn’t rescinded the 16th technical foul that Doncic got in the second-to-last regular-season game April 8. He would have had to serve an automatic one-game suspension if the technical foul had been upheld by the league.
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