Mavericks Edge Timberwolves: Key Takeaways

Photo of Doncic lead with a triple doouble of 32 points to contribute The Dallas Mavericks shocked the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-108 .

The Dallas Mavericks shocked the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 109-108 victory, overcoming an 18-point deficit and securing the win on a Luka Doncic step-back with three seconds remaining.

Doncic led with a triple-double of 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. Naz Reid scored 23 off the bench to lead the Timberwolves. The Mavericks now have a 2-0 series lead as they head to Dallas.

Minnesota started strong, getting Dallas into foul trouble within the first five minutes. Anthony Edwards aggressively attacked the paint, while Doncic’s early threes kept the Mavericks competitive despite their fouls.

Karl-Anthony Towns’ early fouls brought in Naz Reid, who hit two threes. Contributions from Derrick Lively and Jaden Hardy off the bench kept Dallas close, trailing 32-26 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Dallas’ defensive and rebounding issues allowed the Timberwolves to extend their lead to 12 points. Towns dominated with post-ups, and Reid’s fourth three put Minnesota up by 15, forcing a Dallas timeout.

Coach Jason Kidd tried different backup guards, but neither Dante Exum nor Tim Hardaway Jr. made an impact. An 8-2 run in the last three minutes of the half helped Dallas narrow the gap, trailing 60-48 at halftime.

Mental mistakes plagued Dallas at the beginning of the second half, allowing Minnesota to stretch their lead to 16. Look-away passes from Doncic to Lively reduced the deficit to 11 before a Timberwolves timeout. Doncic then hit a step-back over McDaniels and followed with a short jumper, cutting the lead to six.

Minnesota extended the lead back to 10, but a Josh Green three-pointer brought it down to five. Hardy came off the bench to hit a three and make a slick assist, narrowing the gap to two points. A late three by Reid pushed Minnesota’s lead to seven, leaving Dallas trailing 86-79 at the end of the third quarter.

Kyrie Irving began the fourth quarter for Dallas with his first three-pointer of the series. Another Irving three, following a Washington post-up score, gave the Mavericks their first lead since the first quarter. The teams traded baskets, with Reid hitting his sixth and seventh threes to keep Minnesota ahead with 6:36 remaining.

The back-and-forth continued, with Gafford scoring on consecutive possessions and blocking his fifth shot in between. After a Jones Jr. turnover, Minnesota built a three-point lead, but Dallas stayed within one on multiple possessions. Dallas regained the lead around the three-minute mark after a timeout, but Minnesota quickly responded and grabbed a rebound after two Mavericks misses.

Irving missed two free throws, Edwards made both, and then hit a corner three. With Dallas down 108-106, they had two chances to tie or take the lead. Doncic missed the first, but Edwards turned the ball over.

With 12 seconds left, Doncic received the inbounds pass, switched on Gobert, and nailed his only three-pointer of the fourth quarter. Reid missed a potential game-winner, and Dallas secured a 109-108 victory to take a 2-0 lead over the Timberwolves.

The NBA’s top backcourt

At the start of the fourth quarter, It was evident that Kyrie would deliver, and he did, hitting four three-pointers and playing excellent defense on Anthony Edwards. Although Luka missed his other two shots in the fourth, when he got the inbounds pass with 12 seconds left, fans were sure that he would do something incredible, and he did. They are each amazing on their own, but together, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are extraordinary, making Dallas seem unbeatable.

Emerging Contributions from Young Bench Players

During these playoffs, Jason Kidd has leaned on his bench to provide essential rest for Irving and Doncic. At different junctures, various players have stepped up adequately to assist Dallas in overcoming obstacles. In a pivotal second half away from home, both Jaden Hardy and Josh Green delivered significant performances to help secure the win.

Green had a challenging outing in game one, committing errors that almost proved costly for Dallas. Nonetheless, he bounced back by sinking a crucial three-pointer late in the game, aggressively rebounding, and making intelligent passes, resulting in a team-leading +15 plus-minus.

Jaden Hardy consistently brings excitement to the court. In the opening quarter, he showcased his skills with an impressive three-pointer and continued to assert himself with four more shot attempts before the quarter concluded.

Given another opportunity in the latter half, he exhibited astute passing and hit another pivotal three-pointer as Dallas battled to regain momentum. Hardy’s self-assurance and knack for maximizing his playing time are pivotal for Dallas’ aspirations of reaching the NBA Finals.

At the Heart of the Action

In a contest featuring a frontcourt lineup boasting a Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star, and an All-Defensive team member, it’s the frontcourt of the Dallas Mavericks that’s proving to be crucial in this series.

Despite being locked in a statistical deadlock with the Wolves, Dereck Lively and Daniel Gafford have emerged as standout performers in the initial two games of the Western Conference Finals.

While it’s challenging to pinpoint a single standout moment, Gafford appears to have regained his confidence from the regular season, radiating an attitude of “I can make every shot,” while Lively is showing signs of being the steal of the 2023 NBA Draft.


Follow Sports 360 Degrees!

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top
Share on Social Media