Depleted Mavs lose to Bulls, eliminated from play-in race – Winnipeg Free Press

DALLAS (AP) — Coby White scored 24 points and the short-handed Chicago Bulls rallied past the depleted Mavericks 115-112 on Friday night, eliminating Dallas from play-in contention a year after the club reached the Western Conference finals.

Dallas coach Jason Kidd said before the game an “organizational decision” was made to limit Luka Doncic to the first quarter while sitting fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving and four other regulars before the club was eliminated from the postseason.

Despite the move, the Mavericks led by double digits when Markieff Morris scored 13 points in the second quarter and rookie Jaden Hardy hit a half-court shot to beat the halftime buzzer for a 67-54 lead.

Neither Morris nor Hardy played in the second half, and a lineup filled mostly with players who spent the season at the end of the Dallas bench lost the lead but kept the game close.

McKinley Wright IV’s layup got Dallas within a point with 39 seconds left before Dalen Terry scored on an alley-oop dunk from White with 23 to go.

Theo Pinson missed a potential tying 3-pointer for Dallas, which had three more attempts at a tying 3 in the final seconds.

The loss clinched the 10th seed and final play-in spot in the Western Conference for Oklahoma City.

Irving was out for right foot injury recovery. The others sitting with him were Tim Hardaway Jr. with left ankle soreness, Maxi Kleber for right hamstring injury recovery and Josh Green and Christian Wood for rest.

The Bulls sat their top two scorers in DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, but they are already locked in to the 10th seed in the East. Patrick Williams scored 23 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Doncic, who scored 13 points, ended up playing a few seconds into the second quarter on a night when the Mavericks paid tribute to his home country of Slovenia.

Keeping Doncic in was an apparent attempt to get him an ovation after Kidd suggested before the game it would be the 24-year-old superstar’s final action of the season. The move didn’t work because fans didn’t seem aware and therefore didn’t cheer.

Kidd said the decision was made by owner Mark Cuban and general manager Nico Harrison to rest most of the regulars. Dallas entered the game tied with Chicago for the 10th-worst record in the NBA.

If the Mavericks have a top-10 pick in the draft in June, they get to keep it. If the pick is 11th or lower, it goes to the New York Knicks as final payment for Dallas’ trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis in 2019. Next month’s draft lottery will determine the final order.

Wright joined Doncic and Morris with 13 points to lead the Mavs.