The Dallas Mavericks finally got both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on the court last night against the Charlotte Hornets, a task proving to be more difficult than anticipated as both superstars have suffered nagging lower-body injuries since the trade deadline brought them together. It couldn't have come at a better time, too, as Dallas entered Friday night's matchup jousting for playoff position in the Western Conference. The fact that their opponents were the Hornets seemed even better; Charlotte lost its best player a month ago and has nothing to play for at this stage.
In quite the surprising turn, the Mavs got slapped around on their home court by those very same Hornets. Boos rained down from the fans in attendance. And Luka sounded abjectly miserable afterwards while answering questions about the 117-109 defeat.
Not everything is about the loss but the last thing Dallas wants to see is their superstar so unhappy. But it was a pretty bad loss. Aside from everything else Luka is dealing with, last night's contest dropped the Mavs out of the playoff picture entirely. They now hold the 11th-best lottery odds, but owe their first-round pick to the Knicks if it falls outside the top-10. There is just no winning this season for Dallas and it could get much worse in the offseason.
Imagine if the worst comes to fruition for Dallas-- they miss the play-in tournament, give up their first-rounder, and then watch Kyrie leave for whatever team he wants to take down next. That would leave the Mavs with literally nothing to show for the season.
It sounds like there are some things going on affecting Luka that that Mavs have no control over. But what they do have control over is not going well at all. The last handful of games this season may end up pivotal in how the relationship between superstar and franchise develops this offseason.