Luka Doncic Responds To "Shutting It Down" Rumors

The rumors began in earnest on Monday that the Dallas Mavericks might be ready to shut down Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for the final week of the season, with their playoff hopes slipping away and a top-10 draft pick to protect. Today, Doncic responded to that rumor emphatically.

"When there's still a chance [to reach the postseason], I'm going to play," said Luka. "So, (shutting it down) is not going to happen, yet."

The Mavericks are in a tough position. They're one game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final Play-In berth, but OKC holds the tiebreaker, so in essence, Dallas is really two games back with three to play. 

Wednesday night in Sacramento, expect to see Doncic on the floor, clinging to the Mavs' last hopes at a play-in spot. 

As for Irving, recovering from a foot injury, he's listed as "probable" as well. 

The Mavs are 7-12 since the risky move to bring in Kyrie at the trade deadline. Things just haven't worked out, with countless close, late-game failures being the benchmark of the Luka-Kyrie duo. 

Now, the two are going to need lots of help to make it to the postseason. The Mavs' last three games are against the Kings, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs; the Thunder play the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies to finish out the regular season.