Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II leaves Game 3 of West finals after taking knee to head

Updated May. 27, 2024 12:40 a.m. ET

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II was ruled out of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against Minnesota on Sunday night after getting hit in the back of the head by a knee from the Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns.

The accidental contact caused his head to snap forward and the rookie from Duke stayed on the court holding his head. Lively was down for several minutes and appeared dazed as he was helped off the court and taken to the locker room.

Lively fell as Mike Conley was driving for a missed shot and Towns was pursuing an offensive rebound when his knee hit Lively's head in the second quarter.

Coach Jason Kidd didn't have an update on Lively after Dallas' 116-107 victory for a 3-0 lead. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Dallas.


The 20-year-old Lively and starting center Daniel Gafford played a big role in helping Dallas take a 2-0 lead in the series. Lively was 12 of 12 from the field in the series, including three makes in Game 3, when he was injured.

“He helps us so, so much in these playoffs and in the regular season,” star guard Luka Doncic said. “Obviously, we’re going to miss him if he can’t play.”

Dallas was already without center-forward Maxi Kleber, who separated a shoulder in the second round. Lively's injury pressed Dwight Powell into action.

Powell, who had played less than 15 minutes in the postseason entering the game, had two points and two rebounds in eight minutes.