Reeling Dallas Mavericks Facing Potential Postseason Elimination

The Dallas Mavericks are coming perilously close to missing the postseason. Should they lose tonight against the Chicago Bulls, the Mavs will officially be eliminated from play-in tournament contention. Unfortunately, they'll be taking the court with a depleted squad: Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Christian Wood will all sit.

Luckily for the Mavs, the Bulls have already clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. They'll be without several key starters, including DeMar DeRozan, Zach Levine, and Patrick Beverly.

There's an upside to a loss for the Mavs. The New York Knicks have the rights to their first-round pick, but it's top 10 protected. Missing the play-in tournament would give the Mavericks a very realistic shot of keeping their pick, and a playoff berth guarantees they lose it.

Missing the postseason would be an embarrassing result for the Mavs given their blockbuster acquisition of Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline, but it may be for the best in the long term if it means they can keep their pick. That being said, an ugly and early exit could expedite Irving's departure from the team; he's a free agent this offseason. It may very well be a lose-lose situation for the Mavericks.

The Mavs and Bulls tip off tonight at 8:30 PM ET.

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