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Mavericks Hopeful Key Reserve Could Return For NBA Finals

Jason Kidd fired up to announce Maxi Kleber is close to returning from injury.

All is well for the Dallas Mavericks at the moment. After Sunday’s 116-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, they now own a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. Game 4 will take place on their home floor on Tuesday as they attempt to complete a sweep.

That puts them just one win away from their third ever trip to the NBA Finals. They lost to the Miami Heat in 2006, but defeated Miami in 2011 for their lone championship. Barring the first ever 3-0 comeback in NBA playoff history, they will be playing the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals (Boston also up 3-0 on the Indiana Pacers).

One of the Mavericks longest-tenured players who is currently on the mend could return during the NBA Finals.

Mavericks Hopeful Key Reserve Could Return For NBA Finals

Maxi Kleber Has Been Out Nearly a Month

Now in his seventh season (all with Dallas), Maxi Kleber has been out since May 3. That was Game 6 of the Mavericks opening round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. The 32-year-old fell hard to the ground in the outing and was later diagnosed with a right AC joint separation.

According to Marc Stein on his Substack, Kleber is ‘trending’ towards a return to action in the NBA Finals.

Regardless of how long both the conference finals go, the NBA Finals will begin on June 6. If the Mavericks win Game 4 on Tuesday, they will have more than a week off before they begin their third trip to the finals. That gives the 6-10 Kleber ample time to recover.

Prior to the injury, Kleber averaged 22.2 minutes in the first five games against the Clippers. In those outings, he averaged 6.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He was a sharpshooter from beyond the arc connecting on 9 of his 15 three-point tries.

In 43 regular season games, Kleber posted averages of 4.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He shot 43.2% from the field, 34.8% from three-point range, and 70.2% from the free throw line.

Will He Be Needed More if Lively Is Out For Some Time?

It wasn’t all positive for Dallas in their Game 3 win over Minnesota. Rookie center Dereck Lively II was forced to leave the game with what is being referred to as a neck sprain. He took an inadvertent knee to the neck from Karl-Anthony Towns.

Much like Kleber, the potential long layoff before the NBA Finals could be beneficial for Lively II. The 20-year-old has played a huge role for Dallas as they sit just one win away from the NBA Finals.

Named to the All-Rookie Second Team, Lively II has averaged 8.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in this year’s postseason.


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