After 2+ Months Out Of Lineup, Key Player Set To Return For Mavericks

Following an embarrassing collapse on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks at least have some good news to start the new week, as one of key defensive rotation pieces is expected to make his long-awaited return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, there is "optimism" that 6'10" big man Maxi Kleber will make his return Tuesday night. 

The 6th-year power forward has missed the Mavericks' last 35 games. And, in turn, the Mavs have desperately missed his defense. Entering Monday's play, as reported by Stein, Dallas had slipped from last season’s No. 7 to No. 22 leaguewide in defensive efficiency, having surrendered at least 60 points in the paint in five successive games.

Kleber's numbers were down a bit this season, averaging 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 22 minutes, but he was still shooting 37% from three, and, as noted, his defense down low, in the paint, and his ability to protect the rim. 
As noted by ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Dallas has a 108.3 Defensive Rating with Kleber on the floor, and a lowly 116.2 DRtg with him off the floor.

The Mavs are trying to keep up in the uber-jam-packed Western Conference, as they sit now at 32-30, in 6th spot, but just two games up on 11th, and one game out of 4th. 

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