Mavericks Dereck Neck sprain makes Lively questionable for Game 5.

When Dereck Lively is active, the Dallas Mavericks have a plus-22 advantage in the three games he has played against Minnesota. Dallas suffered a defeat in the lone game he rested.  

It's not that easy, but it does show how crucial he has been to the Mavericks this series; without Lively, Game 4 would not have been the same. As of right now, Lively's status for Thursday night's Game 5 is doubtful.  

Even though Lively was doubtful for a while leading up to Game 4, he was eventually ruled out, so there's no assurance he'll play. The tone here is more upbeat.  

Karl-Anthony Towns accidentally kneed Lively in the back of the head as Lively was falling to the ground in Game 3, injuring Lively. To avoid coming back with a neck sprain, he remained on the ground for a few minutes before heading directly to the locker room.  

Lively is a valuable asset off the bench for Dallas. His athletic rim protection has been essential in preventing Anthony Edwards from getting into the lane, and he can also finish off Luka Doncic's lobs with ease  

Game 4 saw Jason Kidd briefly try Dwight Powell in his absence, but the move was unsuccessful.   

After missing weeks due to a shoulder dislocation, Maxi Kleber appeared nervous when he returned to the court. Not only that, but he lacks Lively's rim protection.  

"Yeah, he's a big piece to our defense and offense," Doncic remarked following Game 4. "So we miss him a lot." On Thursday night, they might be able to avoid missing him.  

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