June 25, 2024

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves live scores and stats – May 22, 2024

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves live scores and stats – May 22, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Luka Doncic led a hot finish for the Dallas Mavericks, hitting crucial shots down the stretch, drawing some fouls and even playing solid defense.

The Mavericks may not be the favorites in another series, but they stole home-field advantage from the Minnesota Timberwolves with this promising start.

Doncic scored 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and Kyrie Irving scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half to lead the Mavericks to a 108-105 victory over the Timberwolves in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.

Dallas had a 62-38 advantage in points in the paint to offset a 6-for-25 shooting performance from deep.

“We achieved important goals,” said Doncic, who scored seven consecutive points within 63 seconds at the start of the fourth quarter to lead the Mavericks 13-0 to take a 97-89 lead.

The Mavericks trailed 102-98 after a three-pointer from Anthony Edwards with 3:37 minutes left in the game, before leading 8-0, and the Wolves did not stop until a decisive throw 10.5 seconds before the end. For the first time in six tries under coach Jason Kidd, the Mavericks won Game 1 of their playoff series.

Jaden McDaniels had his third straight 20-plus point game with 24 points for the Wolves, but Edwards — who earned his first All-NBA selection before the game, to the Second Team — was stifled for 19 points in a team-high Mavericks effort. Karl-Anthony Towns needed a late surge to score 16 points and finished 6-for-20 from the floor.

The star power in this series is strong, and at least on the first night the Mavericks got what they needed from their leading duo while the Wolves largely struggled to run the offense around their lineup.

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Wolverhampton coach Chris Finch said: “Terrible attack in the long run: bad shots, turnovers, lack of composure.” “We have to be better in clutch moments.”

Towns came to life with a long jumper, a layup to Rudy Gobert for a slam dunk and a 3-pointer two minutes in to give the Wolves the lead with 4:39 to go on their way to a 10-0 run that Doncic finished with a 3-pointer. Washington, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, drilled a shot from deep to put the Mavericks back in front with 1:56 left.

Towns thought he had tied the game with a layup on the next possession, but that was waved away due to basket interference.

Minnesota hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Edwards, who was held scoreless in the third quarter, added 11 rebounds and eight assists.

“He’s an amazing player. We have to put multiple bodies on him,” Doncic said. “If he’s going 1-on-1, it’s hard to stop him.”

Naz Reid scored 15 points and Kyle Anderson added 11 points off the bench for the Wolves, who had two days off after knocking out defending champion Denver with Game 7 coming back from a 20-point deficit to win the second-round series.

It was a sharp shift from the deliberate, forceful approach of the Nuggets and NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to the run-heavy style of the Mavericks, who frequently lost opponents off screens for wide-open dunks. They moved with the goal of preventing the Wolves from constantly positioning their half-court defense around NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gobert at the rim.

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Irving’s impressive breakout and drive provided a unique challenge for the Wolves and their league-leading defense that they didn’t face in the last outing, when they held the Nuggets to an average of 85 points during their four wins.

“He got us going. Without him, we probably would have been down by 20 points in the first half,” Doncic said. “I had to help him out in the second half a little bit. So we switched roles this time.”

McDaniels, playing his usual relentless defense on the perimeter, was the catalyst on the other end of the court as well with five 3-pointers in the first half, but Towns had difficulty landing shots and Edwards found his driving lanes constantly clogged.

“Jayden was the only one who came in ready to play tonight, and I think everyone let him down,” Edwards said.

The Mavericks have bolstered their defense since acquiring Daniel Gafford and Washington at the trade deadline, which top-seeded Oklahoma City could see after losing in six games in the final round. Doncic was also involved in breaking up a loose ball from Mike Conley to Gobert for one of his three steals with 1:06 remaining and the Mavericks up by two.

“No one panicked. There was a lot of confidence, no matter how bad or how good we were playing,” Kidd said.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA