Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis did not play Saturday night when the Dallas hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center.
Porzingis left Thursday’s game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He came down awkwardly on his left ankle after going for a rebound. The Mavericks held on to beat the Lakers, 115-110. The Mavs are calling it an ankle sprain.
The Mavs announced Porzingis was unavailable a little more than an hour before the 7:30 p.m. tip. They also said Josh Richardson was unavailable because of right hamstring tightness and Tyrell Terry was unavailable because of personal reasons.
Maxi Kleber, who has dealt with a low back contusion, was inserted into the starting lineup.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said the team doesn’t think Porzingis’ injury is serious, “but the decision for him to sit tonight was not a close call.”
It will be Porzingis’ 20th missed game this season. The Mavs are 9-10 without Porzingis this season and 20-17 overall without him the past two seasons.
Porzingis has been plagued by injuries for the past three years. He tore the ACL in his left knee while with the New York Knicks in February 2018. That injury required surgery and it forced him to miss the entire 2018-19 season, after he was traded to the Mavericks.
During Game 3 of the Mavericks’ first-round playoffs series against the Los Angeles Clippers last September, Porzingis tore his meniscus in his right knee, which also forced him to miss the first part of this season.
Entering Saturday night’s game, the Mavericks (32-26) were sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference, two and a half games behind the fifth-place Lakers (35-24), who have played without LeBron James for more than a month.
Teams that finish the regular season in the top six spots avoid having to qualify for the postseason via play-in games.