Mavs And COVID 19: Tracking Which Players And Coaches Have Missed Time Because Of The Coronavirus

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Goodbye, 2021: Mavs end one of most tumultuous months in their history with dominant win vs. Kings

Head coach Jason Kidd knows his roster has grown weary from weeks of uncertainty.

Dallas Mavericks forward Sterling Brown (0) is fouled by Sacramento Kings center Damian Jones (30) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)
Dallas Mavericks forward Sterling Brown (0) is fouled by Sacramento Kings center Damian Jones (30) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)(José Luis Villegas / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Callie Caplan

7:58 PM on Dec 31, 2021 CST

svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="24" height="24" viewbox="0 0 24 24" fill="currentColor" stroke-width="2" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round"">>svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="24" height="24" viewbox="0 0 24 24" fill="currentColor" stroke-width="2" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round"">>svg width="16" height="11" viewbox="0 0 16 11" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" fill="currentColor"">>svg fill="currentColor" width="15" height="15" viewbox="0 0 15 15" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"">>

For the 40-some hours between their buzzer-beating loss Wednesday night to the Kings and the rematch Friday, the Mavericks had little to do but sit in Sacramento and reflect.

They didn’t travel. They didn’t practice. They didn’t hold a shootaround. They didn’t gather for meetings or meals.

So, when they finally could reconvene — about 40 minutes before the early New Year’s Eve tipoff — they appeared ready to turn their pent-up frustrations and desperation into victory.

Dallas beat the Kings 112-96 in Golden 1 Center thanks to a dominant second quarter and a sizzling 24-2 run across six minutes in the third quarter to take control for good.

Kristaps Porzingis led all scorers with 24 points (8 of 12 shooting), nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks in 33 minutes, while Jalen Brunson added 23 points, five rebounds and eight assists.

The win marked the Mavericks’ eighth this season in games they trailed by double digits — surpassing their total of seven from all last season — and ensured the still-COVID-ravaged team ended one of the most tumultuous months in recent franchise history on a positive note

“We’re excited we came out with a win against a team like this, especially how we lost the first time,” Brunson said of Wednesday’s loss. “But nothing really changes. You’ve got to just be happy, short-term memory, move on to the next one.”

Even in victory, Kidd admitted the Mavericks felt weary from weeks of uncertainty.

The head coach chuckled — almost in disbelief — several times as he read the lengthy pregame status report, in which 10-day contract signee Isaiah Thomas joined Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Brandon Knight and Ja’Quori McLaughlin in health and safety protocol.

Reggie Bullock was active Friday for the first time since his quarantine — and shined with a season-high-tying 16 points, including 12 in the first half — but Kidd still had to work through what’s become his routine since Bullock became the first player to enter COVID-19 protocol Dec. 17.

Every morning, Kidd rolls over in bed and reaches for his phone to check the new list of COVID-19 positives. Then he starts to check in on the players, assistants and staff members already in isolation.

He takes a break midway through his list for game-planning, and then continues reaching out before game time.

“A lot of texts or phone calls to people who we’re leaving across the United States — in Utah, Portland, we’ll leave people here in Sacramento because we have some positives,” Kidd said. “It doesn’t sound right, but that’s just what we’re going through as a team.”

But their depth took another blow less than an hour before tipoff, when the team announced Frank Ntilikina, who’d started the last five games, would sit out because of a left thigh contusion.

That left Jalen Brunson and Texas Legends call-up Carlik Jones as the only true point guards available.

“We’re trying to figure out if I’m eligible to play,” Kidd joked.

Luckily for the 48-year-old who finished his Hall of Fame playing career in 2013, Kidd’s on-court production wasn’t necessary.

After falling behind by 10 points (39-29) late in the first quarter, the Mavericks outscored the Kings by 60-37 over the next two periods.

Sacramento tied the game at 67 three minutes into the third quarter, but then Brunson hit a jumper and the Mavericks’ offense soared.

During the 24-2 burst, they assisted on all eight of their field goals and attacked the paint while forcing the Kings to miss 10 consecutive shots. They finished the first three quarters with 94 points, their final total in Wednesday’s loss.

Dallas also held De’Aaron Fox (10 points) scoreless through the last three quarters after he broke their defensive set Wednesday with the game-winning assist on Chemezie Metu’s 3-pointer.

That’s the ball movement and defensive focus Kidd asked for before the game.

From here, the Mavericks will finish their five-game road trip Sunday in Oklahoma City and hope for two things — that they don’t leave anyone else behind with COVID-positive tests, and that their recent hardships can improve in the new year.

Doncic missed 11 of 16 games in December after re-twisting his ankle Dec. 10 in Indiana and testing positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 22, and the Mavericks won just seven times in the month while giving an NBA-high 24 players minutes.

The 10-day contracts for three replacement players — Jones, George King and Charlie Brown Jr. — expire Saturday, making only one thing certain:

The Mavericks’ roster fluidity won’t abate to start 2022.

a href="/sports/mavericks/2021/12/20/mavs-and-covid-19-tracking-which-players-and-coaches-have-missed-time-because-of-the-coronavirus/"">>Feb 13, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; A general view of the Dallas Mavericks logo at center court before the game between the Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings at the American Airlines Center.Mavericks

Mavs and COVID-19: Tracking which players and coaches have missed time because of the coronavirus

By SportsDay Staff

Find more Mavericks coverage from The Dallas Morning News here

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svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="24" height="24" viewbox="0 0 24 24" fill="currentColor" stroke-width="2" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round"">>svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="24" height="24" viewbox="0 0 24 24" fill="currentColor" stroke-width="2" stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round"">>svg width="16" height="11" viewbox="0 0 16 11" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" fill="currentColor"">>svg fill="currentColor" width="15" height="15" viewbox="0 0 15 15" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"">>
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img width="140" height="140" src="https://dmn-dallas-news-prod.cdn.arcpublishing.com/resizer/WUhypGMl0AJDqyTSTr4FN35KR3Q=/140x140/smart/filters:no_upscale()/s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/dmn/85a0c62a-591f-42ab-a86d-7f33ae3762ec.png"">Callie Caplan, Staff Writer. Callie Caplan covers the Dallas Mavericks and Olympic sports. She has also written for The Washington Post, USA Today and The Baltimore Sun and graduated from the University of Maryland in 2017.

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