|by Kylie Phetluangsy (team 14)|
Deron Williams, star point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, is out indefinitely with a sports hernia in his groin. Williams doesn’t have a time table for return, but he there is a possibility of him needing surgery which would take him out of the lineup for the rest of the season. The Mavs, who are coming off of a four game win streak, are pushing for the playoffs and face off against the Houston Rockts tomorrow night, without Williams. Rick Carlisle isn’t happy about losing Williams for potentially the rest of the season, but he remains confident in replacement starter J.J. Barea who has sparked the Mavs in their last four victories. The Mavs are currently one game ahead of the Rockets going into Wednesday’s game, which puts more pressure on Dallas to win despite being down its starting point guard and a starting forward in Chandler Parsons.
While this seems like a somewhat daunting task, the Mavs bench has stepped up in the six games Williams has been out by winning their last four games straight and building some momentum and confidence in the team’s ability to work together and win games. For the Rockets, playing against the Mavs without Williams could be just what they need to even out their records and push past Dallas and into the playoffs. The Rockets appear to have the schedule advantage in the battle for the West’s last two playoff berths, but they still have one more loss than the Mavs and the Utah Jazz, who are tied for the 7 seed with five games remaining, so Wednesday’s matchup in Dallas is critical to keep both teams’ dreams of the postseason alive.