Report: 2011 Mavs champ has been texting Dereck Lively II important messages since team’s Game 1 loss to Celtics

Orel Dizon
4 Min Read
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks’ loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals could have had the team downcast, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II is relishing the opportunity to play on the NBA’s grandest stage and is looking to bounce back in the next contest.

He has also gotten plenty of encouragement from Tyson Chandler, the retired big man who helped Dallas win its 2011 championship and is now serving as a key mentor for Lively.

When the Mavs lost Game 1, Chandler reportedly sent the youngster text messages, reminding him to stay locked in.

“When Lively returned to the Mavericks’ locker room Thursday night, his phone had already been pinged by former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports. “Reminders to keep his head down, to stick to the grind. ‘Text messages,’ Lively said. ‘I suck at phone calls.’ Chandler, once the tremendous paint presence who anchored Dallas’ last championship in 2011, has been part of the franchise in some capacity throughout his retirement, a common theme among former players during Mark Cuban’s tenure owning the organization. Before home games, you’ll see Chandler, a bright orange hat flipped backwards, leaning his own massive frame against Lively in the paint.”

The 2012 Defensive Player of the Year didn’t make the trip to Boston, where the first two games of the championship round are being played. But he still has made sure to remind Lively from afar of how to impact the game and help his squad.

“All he’s telling me to do is the little things, no matter if that’s hitting them on the box-out or being able to talk to my teammates on the backside,” Lively said. “Just doing the little things so that everybody is connected on the court, so we’re not leaving anybody behind.”

Lively has played beyond his years this season. After being promoted to a full-time starter in his second-ever NBA game, he was relegated to the bench later in the campaign as midseason acquisition Daniel Gafford was given his spot in the starting lineup.

Instead of sulking, the Duke University product embraced his new role and has contributed significantly to Dallas’ surprising NBA Finals run.

He has been a revelation in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, particularly in the Western Conference Finals, where he put up 9.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 21.9 minutes of action per contest. Against a formidable Minnesota Timberwolves frontcourt, Lively made all his 16 field-goal attempts in the series.

Unfortunately, he didn’t contribute much against the Celtics on Thursday, scoring just two points and hauling in five boards. He also committed five fouls as Boston ran away with a 107-89 victory.

Still, the Mavs seem to be in high spirits. Perhaps the fact that they lost their series openers to the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the first two rounds before winning each series has given them confidence, even against the team with the best record in the league.

Chandler also has experience in such a situation. Dallas lost Game 1 of its 2011 NBA Finals battle against the Miami Heat before defeating the star-studded squad. It remains to be seen if this current iteration of the Mavs can replicate the feat.

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Orel's passion for sports stems from following Michael Jordan’s last title runs with the Chicago Bulls and his namesake Orel Hershiser’s Cleveland Indians tenure in the late 1990s.