DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, like his players, heard about the NBA’s decision to suspend the season while in the third quarter of their game against the Denver Nuggets.
That ended up being the last game completed in the league Wednesday night, and the Mavericks avoided their first three-game losing streak before the NBA season’s suspension “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Very concerned, but it’s not necessarily about basketball. Obviously this is much bigger than basketball,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
“This is because of just the league being concerned about the health of fans, players and arena personnel,” Carlisle said. “There’s going to be more meetings and more talk tomorrow about what the next steps are. There’s no timetable.”
Boban Marjanovic had 31 points and 17 rebounds, Luka Doncic scored 28 points and the Mavericks won 113-97, which was secondary considering the entire situation.
Nuggets forward Paul Millsap described it as a “scary situation” and said everybody in their locker room was in shock not really knowing what to think.
“Unfortunate events obviously, but I think it’s a smart move for the NBA to do this,” Millsap said. “The safety of the players and safety of the fans is important, so I think it’s the best thing for us to do right now. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Jamal Murray had 25 points to lead Denver, and Will Barton had 23.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points and Maxi Kleber 15 for the Mavericks, the only team in the league without a three-game losing streak.
Instead of flying to San Antonio as scheduled, the Nuggets were going home Wednesday night.
“We support the league’s decision. Obviously putting the players, officials, the fans, the coaches, the staffs’ best interest at heart,” Denver coach Mike Malone said. “We have to try to get our minds wrapped around what this coronavirus is doing, so we support their decision and we’ll wait to hear word on them as to what this means moving forward because honest to God, I have no idea. And I just hope that we can figure this out and get back to playing basketball in a timely manner when it’s deemed safe.”
Cuban and Carlisle said Mavericks players were told to stay in Dallas. The coach, who is married to an infectious disease doctor, said players were already scheduled to have a day off Thursday, but pointed out that games were suspended, not team activities.
TIP-INS: The 7-foot-4 Marjanovic is from Serbia, as is Denver’s 7-foot center Nikola Jokic, a usually high-scoring All-Star from Europe like Doncic, who is from Slovenia. Jokic finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jokic didn’t take his first shot until about four minutes into the second quarter, a stepback jumper over Marjanovic. ... Mavs 7-foot-3 post Kristaps Porzingis, who has been recovering from a left knee injury, had a planned night after Tuesday night’s game at San Antonio was his fourth in seven days. ...Doncic, his sore right wrist in a wrap, immediately grabbed at his hand and grimaced after a driving dunk in the first half. ...
Nuggets: Had been scheduled to play six of next seven games on road, including San Antonio on Thursday.
Mavericks: Were staying home, where they had been scheduled to play the Phoenix Suns on Saturday before four road games in a row.