The Dallas Mavericks’ quest for a 2022 NBA championship will likely begin without Luka Doncic, who is expected to miss Saturday’s Game 1 against the Utah Jazz with a calf strain, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Doncic suffered the injury during the second half of the team’s final regular-season game, which comes at the absolute worst time for the Mavs, a franchise that hasn’t made it past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs since Dirk Nowitzki led them to an NBA championship in 2011.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Dallas. At least, it shouldn’t be.
This season, the Mavs went a respectable 8-9 without Luka’s services and only lost to the Jazz by four points in one of those 17 outings. All but two of Doncic’s missed games came before the team made a trade deadline move for Spencer Dinwiddie, who is averaging 15.8 points and shooting above 40.0 percent from three over his 23 games as a Maverick after being traded from the Wizards.
I’d buy some Dinwiddie stock if Luka is out.
I’d also buy some Jalen Brunson stock. Not only is he averaging a career-best, 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game, but his 20.4 points and 7.5 assists per game without Luka (17 games) are reasons to consider taking the overs on his player props in the time being.
But getting too high on the Mavericks against the Jazz without Luka would be tough. Utah, despite some recent struggles, is the league’s best offense by the numbers (116.2 defensive rating) and is one of the best shooting teams from three. Dallas’ defense will still be good enough to give them a chance, however — it allowed the second-fewest points per game (104.7) and was seventh in defensive rating (109.5) this season.
So if you’re convinced of Jason Kidd’s squad, go ahead and take them at +250 (Tipico Sportsbook) as they’ve become the underdogs. If you’re feeling even braver, it may be a good time to buy the dip (+1300 Western Conference Championship odds).Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).