Dereck Lively II update headlines double dose of positive news for Mavs

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Dallas Mavericks failed to close out the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, they’ve received some good news ahead of Game 5.

Dereck Lively II has been upgraded to questionable for Thursday’s matchup, and Maxi Kleber is no longer on the injury report.

Lively missed Game 4 with a neck sprain while Kleber was able to play for the first time in almost a month. Now, it appears that both players could be available for Game 5 as Dallas looks to wrap things up against Minnesota.

The rookie’s absence was certainly felt in Game 4 — particularly on defense — as he missed his first playoff game of the season. Lively has been a key piece for Dallas during its playoff run, averaging 21.5 minutes per game along the way.

In the regular season, he made a strong impression on the league, averaging 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting a whopping 74.7 percent from the field. He earned All-Rookie honors for his contributions.

Meanwhile, Kleber is now back in action for the Mavs for the first time since the first round of the postseason. He played a key role for the squad against the Los Angeles Clippers before being sidelined.

In the regular season, Kleber averaged 4.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

The Mavericks have to be optimistic about this latest round of injury updates, but they still have work to do in order to advance to the NBA Finals. While they have a 3-1 series lead on the Timberwolves, the book isn’t completely closed on the Western Conference Finals.

If the Timberwolves take care of business at home the rest of the way, they’ll only need to win one more road game — Game 6 — to stun the Mavericks and win the series in seven games.

But that’s easier said than done, and as things currently stand, Dallas remains the heavy favorite to win the Western Conference and advance to the NBA Finals to face the Boston Celtics.

No team in NBA history has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series.

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