The injuries are piling up for the Dallas Mavericks, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for them.

Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr., who are still far from 100% after suffering a knee and ankle sprain, respectively, in their opening round series, played a crucial role in Dallas’ 119-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Doncic, the second runner-up in this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player race, was clearly still bothered by his injury based on the way that he was limping around the court. Despite this, the 25-year-old still put on a heroic effort to help the Mavericks bounce back from their 22-point Game 1 loss. He played 41 minutes and recorded 29 points on 11-of-21 field goal shooting, five three-pointers, 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and a block as Dallas took Game 2.

However, the Mavericks were not a one-man show as the rest of the Mavericks matched Doncic’s intensity and stepped up, making this win a true team effort. The team’s mid-season acquisitions P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford continued to be game-changers as they took on even more minutes in the absence of Maxi Kleber who has been out since succumbing to a shoulder injury in Game 6 of the first round.


Washington, who is playing in his first career postseason, set a new playoff career-high with 29 points. He hit seven of his 11 three-point attempts and also tallied 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block before fouling out with 2:12 left on the game clock.

Meanwhile, Gafford added 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block. His block turned out to be a costly one though as his hand was hurt when it hit the backboard after swatting Jalen Williams’ shot. He managed to return to the game eventually, but the status of his hand will be a crucial factor to monitor moving forward as his shot blocking has been a major strength on the defensive end for the Mavericks in this postseason.

Kyrie Irving also made his presence felt in the win, albeit in a different manner from his usual ways. The one-time NBA champion focused on playmaking in lieu of scoring as he attempted only eight shots and finished with nine points, yet handed out 11 assists to tie his playoff career-best. Irving, who is the elder statesman in this team’s rotation, also had two steals and two blocks which helped set the tone for this team defensively.

Derrick Jones Jr. and Dallas’ reserves Hardaway, Josh Green, and Dereck Lively II made the most of their minutes as well. These three bench players actually put up the three highest +/- figures for the team in spite of their limited playing time. Hardaway scored 17 points in 18 minutes, Green added 11, and Lively registered a team-best +/- of +18.

The win was a crucial one for the Mavericks as they not only tied the series, but also stole home court advantage from the Thunder. With the next two games set to be played in Dallas, they have a golden opportunity to take the lead in this series. It will not be easy though as Oklahoma City, particularly their supporting cast, should bounce back.

The rest of this series should continue to be a dog fight and it will not come as a surprise if this winds up going all the way to a Game 7.