Mavericks center Dereck Lively available for Game 5

2024 NBA Playoffs - 	Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves
2024 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves

Dereck Lively's absence in Game 4 had real impacts: Anthony Edwards and other Timberwolves players were getting into the paint for more shots with less rim protection in their way, and the Mavericks had just one alley-oop dunk from Luka Doncic without his favorite target there.

That will change in Game 5 — Lively can play.

Lively missed the second half of Game 3 and all of Game 4 with a neck sprain that happened when he was going to the ground and was inadvertently kneed in the back of the head by Karl-Anthony Towns.

Lively reportedly was moving well in pregame warmups for Game 5.

In this series, the Mavericks are +22 in the minutes Lively is on the court — things just flow a little better when the athletic rookie big man is on the court. Dallas is up 3-1 in the series and is looking to close things out and advance to the NBA Finals with a win Wednesday — a win that would give the team, and especially Luke Doncic's bothersome knee, a week off before the finals begin on June. 6.