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Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is reportedly going to miss Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz, and he could miss more.
Of course, nobody ever wishes injury on a player, but this could be a really lucky break for the Jazz? Right?
I mean, the Jazz’s chances of beating the Mavericks and moving on to the second round definitely go up if Doncic can’t play in one or more of the games against the Jazz. That’s good news, isn’t it?
Well, there is certainly the on-court element of this, and yes the Jazz have a better chance of beating the Mavericks with Doncic wearing street clothes. But this injury adds a ton of pressure to this Jazz team and everyone surrounding it.
No one is going to admit that.
Donovan Mitchell will say that the Mavericks are a roster of talented guys capable of winning games and that the Jazz can’t take them lightly even with Doncic, and Rudy Gobert will say that the only pressure the Jazz feel is the pressure they put on themselves.
But think about what would happen if the Jazz were to lose to the Doncic-less Mavericks. What excuse would the Jazz have for that?
If the Jazz were to go down swinging in seven games to a Doncic-led Dallas team, that would be pretty understandable. But if the Jazz were to drop two games in Dallas while Doncic watched from the sidelines, and even if Doncic came back and played in a couple of games of this series, but ultimately the Jazz lost, that would be a complete embarrassment and failure for the Jazz.
In many ways, this injury doesn’t add any relief for the Jazz — it just increases the pressure and expectations. And how the Jazz respond to those increased expectations and bottle-bursting pressure could impact the future of this team.
If the Jazz were to lose to the Mavericks, the whole team would probably look a lot different next season, top to bottom.
New with the Jazz
Stat of the week
With eight more 3-pointers, Donovan Mitchell would become the Utah Jazz’s all-time playoff leader for 3s made, passing Bryon Russell, who currently holds the record with 126 made postseason treys.
From the archives
This week in Jazz history
On April 22, 2000, Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone (36 years, 273 days) became the oldest player in NBA history to score 50 points or more in a playoff game when he recorded 50 points in Game 1 of the first round against Seattle.
- The Utah Jazz’s regular season will be remembered, but how? (Deseret News)
- A year ago the Jazz were the No. 1 team, now they’re the underdog (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Can the Mavericks beat the Jazz with a small lineup? (The Athletic)
- SLC Summer League to return to Vivint this summer (KSL.com)
Around the league
Paul George missed Friday’s play-in game after testing positive for COVID-19.
Stephen Curry set to return to Warriors lineup for Game 1 of playoffs.
NBA milestones to watch for during the 2022 playoffs.
Up next: Playoffs — Round 1
April 16 | 11 a.m. | Game 1 | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | ESPN
April 18 | 6:30 p.m. | Game 2 | Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks | NBA TV
April 21 | 7 p.m. | Game 3 | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | NBA TV
April 23 | 2:30 p.m. | Game 4 | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | TNT