Dhe German national basketball player Maximilian Kleber and the Dallas Mavericks suffered a setback in the race for the play-off spots. In the duel against champions Golden State Warriors, the Texans narrowly lost 125-127 in front of their home crowd and thus failed to draw level with the Warriors in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks are currently ninth in the west, with only the top six teams safely advancing to the final round. The teams ranked seventh through tenth in each conference qualify for a tournament in which the last two playoff spots are awarded.
Anger at the referees
However, a controversial situation late in the third quarter sparked debate: after a time-out, the Mavericks apparently defended the wrong basket, resulting in two easy points for opponents Golden State. Mavs club boss Mark Cuban later claimed that there was insufficient communication from the referees to the Dallas touchline, which is why the coach and players were unaware of the new game situation.
Cuban announced on ESPN after the controversial decision of the referees a protest against the game rating and complained about one of the “worst mistakes in the history of the NBA”. The last successful protest in the league so far dates from January 2008.
The Mavericks were without star Kyrie Irving against the Warriors, but Luka Doncic returned after a two-week injury break. The Slovenian scored 30 points and was the outstanding player of the game. Kleber scored five points.
Meanwhile, Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant made a successful return to the NBA after his suspension. Morant contributed 17 points to his team’s 130-125 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday (local time). The Grizzlies’ top player was banned from the North American League for eight games because of a controversial nightclub video and “league-damaging behavior” and was used again for the first time.
The Los Angeles Lakers with national player Dennis Schröder kept their chances for the play-offs. Even without the still injured star LeBron James, the Lakers won 122:111 against the Phoenix Suns. Schroeder scored 13 points. The Lakers are tenth in the West, just behind the Mavericks.
The New York Knicks with the German center Isaiah Hartenstein lost 120:127 in the Miami Heat and thus failed to distance a competitor for the direct playoff entry. The Knicks are fifth in the East, two wins ahead of the Heat. Hartenstein got two points.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers have to do without Paul George (32) for up to three weeks. The eight-time NBA Allstar is stopped by a knee injury and could be out until the end of the main round. George, who suffered the injury on Tuesday (local time) in the game against Oklahoma City Thunder (100:101), should be examined in two or three weeks, according to the club, with a view to a possible comeback. For the Clippers, the regular season ends on April 9, the Californians are fifth in the table in the West and have a direct play-off spot.