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Why did Luka Doncic only play in the first quarter against the Bulls if the Mavs needed a win?

Dallas Mavericks and their coach Jason Kidd decided to bench the first team line-up and let Doncic only one quarter to play in their loss against the Bulls.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks
Jerome MironUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The Dallas Mavericks had tough decisions before their penultimate season game against the Chicago Bulls. Their playoff chances were pretty slim going into tonight’s game. The Mavs needed to win their final two regular-season games, and the Thunder had to lose their last game for the Mavericks to finish tenth in the Western Conference.

It’s been another exceptional year for the three-time All-NBA selection, Luka Doncic. He’s averaging 32.7 points per game—second in the league—with 8.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists. But Dallas’s season has still disappointed, especially considering this team made it to the Western Conference Finals last season.


Still, the team decided to acknowledge their defeat in not qualifying for this year’s NBA playoffs and try to go for the place in the draft lottery. Even before the game on Friday, the organization announced that their five key players, including Kyrie Irving, Christian Wood, and Tim Hardaway Jr., would all be missing the must-win game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Coach Kidd Kidd confirmed that Luka Doncic would only play in the first quarter and said he’ll “most likely” be out on Sunday, along with the five players benched against the Bulls in their regular-season closing against San Antonio as they endeavor to lose again.

The first-round pick

The Dallas Mavericks can now have a 79.8 percent chance to keep their first-round pick. They owe the selection to New York if it falls 11 through 30, but the Mavericks keep it if it is in the top ten after the lottery.

A win against the Chicago Bulls would have meant the Mavs had the 11th-worst record and just an 8.5 percent chance of holding their pick.

The rumor says that Mavs owner Mark Cuban overlooked the whole strategy behind this in an attempt of revenge against the New York Knicks and their stealing Jalen Brunson in a mid-season transfer controversy. Cuban sounded accusive in his declarations on Jalen Brunson’s departure from his defending Western Conference finalists, reprimanding family ties for the fifth-year man’s landing with the New York Knicks. He seemed to accuse Brunson’s father, Rick, who was hired as an assistant coach weeks before he signed, and team president Leon Rose, Brunson’s godfather, previously his agent.

Where it went south was when Rick took over, when the parent took over, or parents took over,” Cuban told Dallas media.

This might shed new light on the NBA lottery draft pick fight because the losing team (Dallas) will presumably land in the final spot as one of the top 10 odds for the top overall pick. While that barely implies a chance for Victor Wembanyama, the Mavericks will lose their first-round choice to the Knicks if they finish above the top 10 as the final piece of the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. If that safeguarded choice does not transfer to the Knicks this summer, it could still do so in the next two years, after which it’d become a second-round choice.