Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Live Score & Stats – May 22, 2024 GameTracker

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Luka Doncic led a strong finish for the Dallas Mavericks, making key shots, drawing few fouls and even playing strong defense.

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

Doncic had 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 win 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 made important things,” said Doncic, who scored seven consecutive points over 63 seconds early in the fourth quarter to lead the Mavericks on a 13-0 run to take a 97-89 lead.

The Mavericks trailed 102-98 after Anthony Edwards' 3-pointer with 3:37 left, before an 8-0 run capped the Wolves off a tip-in with 10.5 seconds remaining. For the first time in six tries under coach Jason Kidd, the Mavericks won the first game of a playoff series.

Jaden McDaniels had his third consecutive 20-plus-point game with 24 points for the Wolves, but Edwards – who had earned his first All-NBA selection on the second team before the game – finished with 19 points in a team effort. Went. Mavericks. Karl-Anthony Towns needed a late explosion to score 16 points and finished 6 of 20 from the floor.

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

“Terrible offense down the stretch: bad shots, turnovers, no composure,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “We have to be better in clutch moments.”

Towns came to life with a long jumper, a lob to Rudy Gobert for a slam and a 3-pointer on a 2-minute burst that gave the Wolves the lead with 4:39 left and sparked a 10-0 run. That ended with a Doncic 3-pointer. P.J. Washington, who had 13 points and seven rebounds, hit from deep to put the Mavericks ahead with 1:56 left.

Towns thought he tied the game with a putback dunk on the next possession, but it was negated due to basket interference.

Minnesota will host Game 2 on Friday night.

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

“He's an amazing player. We have to put a lot of bodies on him,” Doncic said. “If he's getting one-on-one, he's hard to stop.”

Naz Reid scored 15 points and Kyle Anderson added 11 off the bench for the Wolves, who had two days off after winning the second-round series by beating defending champion Denver in Game 7 after trailing by 20 points.

The transition was sharp from the deliberate and powerful style of the Nuggets and NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to the pick-and-roll-heavy Mavericks, who often forced their opponents off screens so they could make wide-open dunks. They moved with a purpose that prevented the Wolves from setting their half-court defense around Gobert, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Irving’s prolific play on the break and on the drive presented a unique challenge that the Wolves and their league-leading defense had not faced in previous rounds, when they held the Nuggets to an average of 85 points in their four wins.

“He carried us. Without him, we probably would have been 20 points behind at halftime,” Doncic said. “I had to help him a little bit in the second half. So we switched roles this time.”

McDaniels, who played his usual relentless defense on the perimeter, was also a catalyst on the other end of the court with five 3-pointers in the first half, but Towns had trouble making shots and Edwards constantly felt jammed in his driving lanes.

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

The Mavericks have strengthened their defense since adding Daniel Gafford and Washington at the trade deadline, as evidenced by top-seeded Oklahoma City after losing six games in the previous round. Doncic also contributed, breaking a lob from Mike Conley to Gobert and making one of his three steals with 1:06 minutes remaining and the Mavericks up by two.

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


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