Mavericks’ Dereck Lively to Miss Game 4 vs Timberwolves

Mavericks’ Dereck Lively to Miss Game 4 vs Timberwolves article feature image

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Pictured: Dereck Lively II on the ground after injuring his neck during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals

The Dallas Mavericks will look to sweep the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, but they’ll have to do so without Dereck Lively II. The center suffered a neck injury early in the second quarter of the Mavericks’ 116-107 win in Game 3 on Sunday that has them one game away from making the NBA Finals.

Lively was hurt when Karl-Anthony Towns inadvertently kneed him in the back of the head as he fell to the ground attempting a block. Lively’s head snapped forward, and he laid on the floor for several minutes. He eventually went to the locker room and left the arena for further evaluation. He was initially listed as questionable to return before the team announced he was out with a neck sprain.

Lively was selected 12th overall in the 2023 NBA Draft and was a second-team All-Rookie selection, averaging 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He’s been a key cog off the bench during the playoffs, averaging 8.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 21.5 minutes of action.

Lively had been outstanding in the four games leading into Sunday’s Game 3 against Minnesota. He had a double-double in Dallas’ final two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder to help lead them to a 4-2 series win. He then had nine points and 11 rebounds in Dallas’ 108-105 Game 1 win over Minnesota and 14 points and nine boards in the team’s 109-108 victory in Game 2.

Dwight Powell is expected to see additional minutes with Lively out. The reserve center has been used sparingly during the postseason, appearing in just eight of the team’s 15 games.

The Mavericks are two-point favorites at DraftKings for Tuesday’s home contest as of Monday evening. They’re also +200 to win the NBA Finals, while Minnesota is +3000.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 14, 2024 UTC