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Doncic can’t play, but he can celebrate a win

The Mavs were able to pull off a win in game two of the NBA playoff series against the Utah Jazz despite missing their big man Doncic, who still celebrated.

Jennifer Bubel

There were many questions about whether or not Dallas could pull off a win against the Jazz in this playoff series with Luka Doncic out with a calf strain. In game one of the series, they couldn’t manage the win, losing by five despite Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson’s best efforts.

They got their chance to even the series on Monday, though, and that they did. With Doncic cheering from the sidelines, the Mavs overcame a 10-point deficit at halftime to get the win 110-104, thanks mostly to Brunson and Maxi Kleber.

Brunson scored a career-high 41 points and Kleber scored 25. The Mavs had an excellent night, making several three-pointers and with just three turnovers, the fewest ever in a postseason game. Brunson is the Mavs’ main guard while Doncic is out and in scoring those 41 points, he became just the fifth Mavs player to score 40 points in a playoff game and the first to do so without committing a turnover.

“Yeah, the 5-of-5 start is great, but I had the same mentality when I was 0 for 5 last game, or whatever,” said Brunson after the game. “You can’t fluctuate whenever, not even when (Doncic) is in or out. Because you need guys to make plays.”

Doncic, who was still unable to participate, celebrated passionately from the sidelines. He suffered a calf strain in the regular season finale, and when he might return is still uncertain, though head coach Jason Kidd said that he is making progress.


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