Mavs fined $750,000 for tanking

When the Dallas Mavericks sat many of its top players for the final two games of the regular season, including Kyrie Irving for both games and Luka Doncic(who played one quarter against the Bulls), many accused the Mavericks of tanking, and the league agreed.

On Friday, the NBA announced that the Mavericks organization has been fined $750,000 for conduct detrimental to the league in an elimination game against the Chicago Bulls on April 7.

According to the league, the Mavericks violated the league’s player resting policy and demonstrated through actions and public statements the organization’s desire to lose the game in order to improve the chances of keeping its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The league did not find that the players who participated in the game were not playing to win.

“The Dallas Mavericks’ decision to restrict key players from fully participating in an elimination game last Friday against Chicago undermined the integrity of our sport,” said Joe Dumars, NBA Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations, in a press release. “The Mavericks’ actions failed our fans and our league.”

Dallas, who missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-19 season, is looking to keep their pick, which is a top-10 protected pick. If the pick lands after 10, it goes to the Knicks(Porzingis trade), so if all goes well, Dallas will at least keep the 10th pick, which could allow the Mavericks to add talent around Doncic and, if he stays, Irving.

Mavs’ Kidd: ‘Decisions sometimes are hard in this business’

The Dallas Mavericks(38-43) were officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the visiting Chicago Bulls 115-112 on Friday night.

Dallas will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

Entering this game, Dallas was a 1/2 game behind the Thunder for the 10th and final spot in the Play-In Tournament, but now it’s over, and the Mavs are okay with it.

Dallas sat Kyrie Irving(foot), Christian Wood(rest), Maxi Kleber(hamstring), Josh Green(rest), and Tim Hardaway Jr.(ankle). Luka Doncic played little over one quarter on “I Feel Slovenia” night, scoring 13 points, so it was clear what the Mavs’ plans were for this game and the season-finale; this team waived the white flag of surrender and was looking to tank.

“Understanding it’s not so much waving the white flag,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said after the loss. “Decisions sometimes are hard in this business, and you have to make hard decisions, and we’re trying to build a championship team, and sometimes you got to take a step back. Understanding, again, with this decision, maybe a step back, but hopefully, it leads to us going forward.

“Again, it’s not always easy to make decisions, but these are decisions that are made from my bosses, and we got to follow them. We trust Cuban and Nico to put the pieces together to put us in a position to win a championship, and so that’s just starting the process today.”

At this point, the Mavs focus on next season. Dallas is currently slotted for the 10th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The draft lottery could change that, but it’s a good chance they stay at 10. If they remain at 10, their pick, which is top-10 protected, would not go to the Knick(Kristaps Porzingis trade), which gives the team more assets to go after more talent. In addition, it appears the team wants to re-sign Irving and build around Doncic and Irving going forward.

Back to this season, what a disappointment. When the Mavs acquired Irving in February, many felt this team could make noise in a wide-open Western Conference.  At the time, the Mavs were 29-26 and the fifth seed in the West. Unfortunately, things never came together, and Dallas is 9-17 after the trade.

Regarding the tank, again, the West is wide open, and anything could have happened once they got into the Play-In Tournament, but again, the white flag was raised, and now it’s on to the NBA Draft Lottery, NBA Draft, free agency, and more. 

Report: Doncic, Irving might get shut down for final three games of season

On Sunday night, the Dallas Mavericks lost another game after falling to the Atlanta Hawks on the road 132-130 in OT. With the loss, the Mavericks remain the 11th seed in the Western Conference and are one game behind the 10th-seeded Oklahoma Thunder, who also lost on Sunday night. 

OKC(38-41) holds the tiebreaker over Dallas, so they basically have a two-game lead over the Mavs for the 10th seed, the final spot in the Play-In Tournament.

However, OKC’s final three games are against the @Warriors, @Jazz, and Grizzlies at home, while the Mavs’ (37-42) last three games. all at home, are against the Kings, Bulls, and Spurs. The schedule favors Dallas, but it might not matter based on how they’re playing.

Dallas, who allowed an average of 130.5 points per contest in the last two, has lost three straight and seven of their last eight. 

Based on a report, the schedule and how Dallas is playing may not even matter.

According to Shams Charania, there are reports that the Mavs could shut down Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for the final three games of the season, which means the Mavs have closed the door on the 2022-23 season and set their sights on next season.

If the Mavs lose out, more than likely, they will keep the pick that they owe to the Knicks, which is a top-10 protected pick(2023). If the pick lands after 10, it goes to New York. According to Charania, getting a top-10 pick in the draft will give Dallas more assets to go after talent that could help Doncic and Irving. 

The trade for Irving has been bad at this point, but it’s not Irving’s fault. Injuries have plagued this team since the trade, and Doncic and Irving have missed multiple games, and still battling injuries right now. 

No one expected the Mavs, who made it to the Western Conference Finals last season, to be in this position when they traded for Irving, but they are; we’ll see what their next steps will be this season.

Mavs’ Doncic after loss to Hornets: ‘It’s really frustrating’

The Dallas Mavericks hoped to gain ground in the standings on Friday night as they hosted the lowly and shorthanded Charlotte Hornets.

However, Charlotte(24-51), without Kelly Oubre Jr. and Terry Rozier, led by as many as 21 points and held on late to defeat the Mavs 117-109. 

With the loss, Dallas(36-38), who now have lost three straight, including two straight at home, is now the 11th seed in the Western Conference, so if the playoffs started today, they would not make the playoffs nor the Play-In Tournament.

The Mavs never led after the first quarter and allowed the Hornets to score 37-first quarter points, which did not please their head coach Jason Kidd.

“It was awful. Dogs***,” he said. “I think just understanding the talk before the game of what we’re playing for – playoffs or championship – and to come out in that first half, but more-or-less that first quarter, and give up 37 [points]. The interest level just wasn’t high. It was just… disappointing.”

Luka Doncic, who led the Mavericks with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, had interesting comments after the loss. According to Doncic, he’s not playing with happiness.

“I mean, yes. It’s really frustrating,” he said. “I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes, I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there. I used to have fun smiling on the court, but it’s been so frustrating for a lot of reasons – not just basketball.”

Doncic referred to some things of a personal nature happening outside of the game, but he did not get specific. 

The Mavs are about to embark on a five-game road trip, which starts Sunday in Charlotte against these same Hornets. 

Kyrie Irving, who had 19 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, says the team can’t make any excuses or point fingers.

“I have been in positions before in the season when we have been under .500 and scratching and clawing to get into the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not a position you want to be in, but it’s our reality, and we have to face it. There is no time for excuses or pointing fingers – just move on to the next game and do all that we can to prepare in the best way. We knew tonight was a very winnable game against the Hornets.”

Dallas, who have eight games left, is 9-15 against Eastern Conference teams, and their next five, all on the road, are against teams from the East, including the 76ers and Heat, so it will be challenging for the Mavs. Look, the Mavs could miss the Play-In Tournament and the playoffs; it’s a real possibility, especially considering how they played on the road(14-22) this season.

“I understand that we’ve got eight games left, so we’re still in control of this, but our effort has to be a little bit better from the start,” Kidd said.

Seeing how these final eight games play out for Dallas will be fascinating.


-P.J. Washington led the Hornets with 28 points, tied for his second-best scoring output on the season.

-Dwight Powell (7-7 FG) and Christian Wood each added 14 points for the Mavericks.

Mavs’ Green: ‘Right now, the Western Conference is completely wide open’

For the time since December, the Dallas Mavericks(34-35) have fallen below .500 after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 104-88 at home on Monday night.

Again, Dallas, who have lost three straight, was without their two best players, Luka Doncic(thigh) and Kyrie Irving(foot). Also, they were without Christian Wood(foot).

However, rookie Jaden Hardy scored 16 of his game-high 28 points in the first half, and the Mavs led 50-49 at halftime, but Memphis(41-26) outscored Dallas by 14 in the third and had their largest lead of 21 in the fourth.

With the loss, the Mavs dropped to the eighth seed in the West, and if the season ended today, they would have to win in the Play-In Tournament to make the playoffs.

According to their head coach Jason Kidd, Dallas has to get healthy in order to make a run in their final 13 games.

“Once the season is over,” Kidd said after the loss to Memphis. “It’s just the regular season. Well, that (the regular season could end, and the year is over)’s true, too. Then there has to be concern. Just understand, our health – this is what we have; these are the cards we’re dealt. Just like anybody in this league, we’ve got to play with the cards that we had tonight…

“Understand, we’re getting better – it’s just a matter of ‘can we be healthy in time to make a stretch run?’ If not, that’s just the season. No one is dying.”

While Dallas is the eighth seed right now, they are only two games behind the sixth and fifth-seeded teams, the Warriors and Clippers, and are 3.5 games behind the fourth-seeded Suns, so there’s still hope. However, Josh Green, who had 23 points, five rebounds, and seven assists on Monday, says Dallas has to start winning.

“We’ve got to win,” Green said. “It’s no other option now. We all need to have the mindset that we’re trying to win every single game from here on out. We’re playing against teams like the Lakers coming up and even the Spurs, where the young guys are trying to beat us. So, at the end of the day, whatever’s on all of our minds, it’s no more than that we need to win for the rest of the season and continue to win. Right now, the Western Conference is completely wide open, and we need to make sure that we’re winning games.”

Dallas gets back at it on Wednesday night in San Antonio against the Spurs.

76ers’ Harris on Doncic, Irving: ‘Those are some of the best guys with the basketball in the whole league’

When the Mavericks acquired Kyrie Irving from the Nets to team up with Luka Doncic, they were hoping for a dynamic duo and nights, as we saw on Thursday against the visiting 76ers.

Doncic had 42, and Irving added 40 as the Mavericks defeated the 76ers 133-126.

The dynamic duo, who combined for 82 points, became the first pair of Mavericks teammates to score 40-plus points in the same game, and they became only the fifth pair of teammates to record 40-plus points in a non-OT game over the past 30 years.

Doncic was 13/22 from the field, including 7-13 from deep to go along with four rebounds and 12 assists, and Irving was 15/22 from the floor and 6/8 from downtown to go along with four rebounds, six assists, and three steals. 

“I thought our leaders, when you talk about Luka [Dončić] and Kai [Kyrie Irving], they were great on both ends of the floor,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said after the win. “Offensively, both having 40 and 42, but those guys set the tone from the first quarter. You know those guys were trying to lead their team to victory, and you know Kai’s sub-pattern kind of changed. I was asking, ‘do you want to come out?’ And he was like, ‘no.’ We let him go a little bit, but you can see those two working together was at a high level against a very good team.”

76ers forward Tobias Harris was impressed by what he saw from Doncic and Irving.

“I mean, two guys damn-near had 100 points on us,” he said. “That team was tough with one wizard with the basketball in Luka (Doncic), and now they got two of them out there. Those are tough matchups. Those are some of the best guys with the basketball in the whole league, and they just picked us apart tonight.”

Doncic liked the scoring but would have liked to have seen some better defense.

“I mean, yeah, like I said, we always talk about the team. The only thing, the offense, I don’t think is a problem … just on the defensive end,” Doncic said. “We play a team like Philly, who is one of the best in the NBA, and showed them what we can do.”

Dallas has lost some close games of late, including Tuesday’s two-point loss to the Pacers, and according to Irving, the team wanted this win against Philadelphia.

“There’s been a few losses over the last week where we felt like they could have been winnable games,” Irving said. “It was definitely a different approach tonight for us as a team because we really wanted this. I wanted this. But I think like I said, last time I was sitting up here, I just had to join the party and make sure my teammates were going to follow along. Luka [Dončić] was ready for the party. I was ready for the party tonight, and it was one of those games where we had some special performances, and I’m just grateful that the work translated because it could’ve gone either way.”

So far, Doncic likes playing with Irving, believing he makes things easier.

“Like I said, it’s way easier,” Doncic said. “It’s unbelievable the things he does on the court, some movements I have never seen in my life. I think if I would have to play with somebody, it would be him for sure because those movements and shots are incredible.”

Dallas led by as many as 25 in the third, but Philly went on a furious run to cut the lead to four, but Dallas closed things out and got the job done.

The Mavericks(33-31) got a much-needed win against Philadelphia and moved back up to the sixth seed in the Western Conference. In addition, they got a fantastic performance from their stars.


-The Mavs as a whole were on fire from three-point ranges as the finished with a franchise-tying 25 threes(25/48).

-Reggie Bullockwent 5-10 from 3-point range en route to 15 points. Bullock has scored in double figures in 3 of his last 4 games out of the All-Star Break.

-Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 35 points and 8 rebounds tonight. Dallas native Tyrese Maxey added 29 points, while James Harden scored 27 points to go with 13 assists.

Mavs’ Irving: ‘I really want to win here’

The Dallas Mavericks lose another close game.

On Tuesday night, Kyrie Irving missed a three at the buzzer as the Mavs fell to the Pacers 124-122 at American Airlines Center.

Dallas has lost two straight and five of their last six, and they fall to 1-4 with Luka Doncic and Irving on the court together, and three of those four losses have been by three points or less. 

After the loss, Doncic, who celebrated his 24th birthday and led the Mavericks with 39 points (14-25 FG), nine rebounds, and six assists, was happy with the look Irving got on that final shot.

“It was a good shot; I think,” Doncic said. “It’s Kyrie. He can make a lot of those shots. We trust him.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd added on the final shot: “Great look. Executed the last play, Kai [Kyrie Irving] had the option for the two or the three. He had a good look; I thought it was good.”

Irving, who finished with 16 points, five rebounds, and nine assists, wants to win badly in Dallas but knows it may take time to get chemistry with his teammates.

“Great shot, great look, just didn’t go down,” he said. “Obviously, we had a few different options on that last play, but I just appreciate the coaching staff and my teammates trusting me with that shot. And just the comfort they gave me afterwards. I really want to win here, really put a lot of pressure on myself; at times, I think I need to scale it back a little bit.

“Just because the second half of the season, we’re not going to be great every single possession. Usually, these learning curves and learning moments happen in preseason, but it’s happening now. It puts a glaring eye on what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong; easy to criticize, but for us, I just got to focus on being the best that I can be. I got to focus on showing up, not just for Luka [Dončić], but for my teammates.”

Much of the talk is about Doncic and Irving, but according to Doncic, it’s not just about him and Irving; it’s about the whole team.

“I think we should be talking about the whole team because we play as a team,” Doncic said. “We lose, and we win as a team. It’s not just about two players. It is about the whole team. So, we have to do better as a team. That’s it.”

The Mavs(32-31) are not closing out games and have dropped to the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Dallas has to take advantage of this six-game homestand, and right now, they’re 1-2. The next three games will be challenging as the 76ers, Suns, and Jazz are coming to town, so if they don’t want to continue to dip in the standings, they better start figuring some things out.

Mavs’ Irving on loss to Lakers: ‘There is no 20-point lead that is safe in this league anymore’

With just over seven minutes left in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers(29-32) on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks(32-30) took their largest lead of 27 points and were in complete control.

However, the Lakers closed the half strong and cut the lead to 61-47 at the break. Los Angeles would outscore the Mavs 64-47 in the second half and defeat Dallas 111-108 at American Airlines Center.

This season, teams were 0-138 when trailing by 27-plus points, but that changed with the Lakers’ win on Sunday.

Kyrie Irving, who had 21 points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds, and five assists, says no 20-point lead in the NBA is safe.

“It’s a tale of two halves,” he said. “I think tonight showed it. First half, we were playing incredible, other than the last three minutes of the first half, where I think we came in up 14. We were up 25 or 23 … I’ve been quoted saying this, ‘There is no 20-point lead that is safe in this league anymore,’ just because of pace and style of the game. But for us, I think we showed some great poise in the third quarter. But in that fourth quarter, I have to do a better job of just getting us into some initiated offensive sets and just be aggressive and not kind of force my way into the lane.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said Dallas lost its rhythm and got too caught up with the officials.

“We lost our rhythm in the sense of just playing our game and not worrying about the other elements,” he said. “Our rhythm there in the first two-and-a-half [quarters], we were playing at a high level on both ends offensively and defensively. Then, we just got a little distracted with the whistle. We’ve just got to be better with that.”

Luka Doncic, who had 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists on Sunday, agreed with Kidd about the team getting distracted by the officials.

“It’s probably true,” he said.

Kidd knows what it takes to win an NBA title; he did it as a player and an assistant. According to Kidd, if the Mavs want to win a championship, he believes the team has to grow up.

“We’ve got to grow up, if we want to win a championship,” Kidd said. “There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”

Dallas was down three with 15 seconds left, and an inbound pass from Irving to Doncic was thrown toward the backcourt, but not knowing the ball could be thrown in the backcourt, Doncic tried to keep the ball in the frontcourt, which caused a turnover. Anthony Davis secured the loose ball for the Lakers, and Dallas was forced to foul.

“I thought Luka needed a little bit more room, so I threw it towards the backcourt because I thought Jarred Vanderbilt did a great job denying him,” Irving said of the play. “I thought he was just going to let it bounce twice and then go grab it, but once I saw him try to save it from halfcourt, I looked at him maybe like a minute later and was like, ‘You know you can go backcourt,’ and he was like, ‘Ah, man. That’s my fault.’”

Doncic added: “That was my bad. I totally forgot you can go backcourt. That was my mistake. That is why I tried to save it.”

Dallas, who has lost four of their last five games, has to execute better late in games, and thus far, Doncic and Irving have struggled together in that area. Fortunately, with 20 games left in the regular season, they have time to fix it.

“I’m glad it’s happening during the season and not during the playoffs,” Kidd said. “When you have those two guys [Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving] out there, it’s about the details. We’ve got to do a better job with the details.”

Clippers’ George on Doncic & Irving: ‘Those two are going to be special together’

Before the trade deadline, both the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks made big moves. Dallas acquired Kyrie Irving from the Nets, and the Phoenix Suns also made a deal with the Nets to get Kevin Durant.

With those moves, the Suns and Mavericks have put themselves in a position to make deep playoff runs. Last season, the Mavs made it to the Western Conference Finals, while the Suns fell to the Mavericks in seven in the second round of the playoffs.

Durant has not been on the court yet with the Suns; he is expected to be available at some point after the All-Star break, but we have seen Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving together for the Mavericks. Dallas is 0-2 with Doncic and Irving in the lineup, but in their first home game together against the Timberwolves, Doncic had 36, and Irving added 33, including 26 in the fourth quarter.

During All-Star weekend, Durant was asked about Doncic and Irving together; he believes that duo will be tough to stop.

“It’s going to be incredible,” Durant said. “You see, already the last game they played together, they lost, but they were down 20. In the fourth quarter, they both came out there, and Kyrie had 26 in the fourth, and Luka hit some big shots. So it’s going to be like that. It’s going to be tough to guard them.”

Clippers forward Paul George thinks Doncic and Irving will be great together.

“It was crazy that trade happened, and I joked with Luka today because we usually, what we call fire on him, which is double-teaming him to get the ball out of his hands,” George said. “Now, you can’t do that because if Kyrie gets it, you’re in the same predicament. They’re going to be special together. I know they’re still figuring it out who gets the last shot and whatnot. They have to figure out the little wrinkles, but those two are going to be special together. Elite scorers. Elite playmakers.”

Doncic and Irving have 22 regular-season games to come together. That’s not a lot of time, but hopefully, for Dallas(31-29), it will be enough time for these two to gel before the playoffs.

Doncic on Irving’s scoring explosion: ‘It was insane’

Kyrie Irving made his home debut for Dallas Mavericks(31-28) against the Minnesota Timberwolves(31-29) on Monday night, and he put on a show. Irving, who Dallas recently acquired from the Nets, scored 26 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter, but with a chance to tie the game, Irving had a costly turnover, and the Timberwolves would defeat Dallas 124-121.

Minnesota had its largest lead at 89-63 in the third, but in that fourth quarter, Irving got it going; he was 11/12 from the field and 3/4 from deep. He became the fourth player this season to score 26-plus points in the fourth quarter of a game.

Luka Doncic, who had 33 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, was very impressed by Irving’s 32 second-half points.

“It was insane,” Doncic said. “All of the guys were just looking at each other, wondering how he does that. It was unbelievable to see, and he really got hot.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd added on Irving’s offensive explosion.

“I think he just understands the game, and when it’s time to go – you saw that in the fourth quarter,” Kidd said. “On the road trip, he picked his spots, trying to use his teammates early but also getting in rhythm. That’s what makes him special. Just to see the guys – not just Kai (Kyrie Irving) – but the guys didn’t quit. We kept playing, found a way in the fourth quarter to make a game of it.”

According to Irving, no lead is safe in the NBA, and he really wanted to get this home win.

“Anything can happen in this league,” he said. “I said it the other night, but there’s no 20-point leads that are safe in our league anymore, so if we can put ourselves in a great position defensively and get some stops consecutively, we can be in the game with anybody. I really wanted this one tonight at home. I did. It just didn’t go our way.”

Despite the outstanding performance, Irving was frustrated with the Mavs’ last possession. Doncic and Irving were a little indecisive on that possession, which ultimately led to Irving’s costly turnover.

“I am still trying to emotionally recover,” he said. “It is still so raw. I would have at least liked to get a shot up. Obviously, with Luka [Doncic] taking it in the backcourt on that steal attempt, it messed up our spacing. We were going for a quick two. That was the plan. It didn’t end up going that way, and I should have given Luka more spacing.”

 “First of all, it was great defense by the Timberwolves,” Doncic said of the final play. “That was great defense. We didn’t get a clear shot, and we just passed to each other. But I think it was great defense. Well done.”

What Irving did on Monday night was special, but the Mavs had to put it together for four quarters, and unfortunately, they didn’t, and it cost them the game.


 Over his last four games at American Airlines Center, Irving, who added five rebounds and six assists on Monday night, is averaging 36.5 points (.570 FG%).