NBA Playoffs: Mavs Dominate Wolves 124-103, Advance to Finals

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-103 on Thursday night to close out the Western Conference Finals, 4-1. They are now set to face the winners of the East, the Boston Celtics, in the NBA Finals which will begin on June 6th.

Luka Doncic got the Mavs off to an explosive start, scoring 20 of his 36 points in the first quarter. He ended up shooting 14-22 from the field, including 6 three-pointers to go with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. 

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic
Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

The other half of Dallas’ one-two punch, Kyrie Irving, also had 36 points but unlike Doncic, most of them came in the second half. P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford both had efficient nights, going for a combined 7-12 from the floor for 23 points.

Dallas shot 54.8% from the field as a team and 44.1% from beyond the arc compared to Minnesota who only managed 42.7% and 31.3% respectively.

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns both had 28 points to lead the Timberwolves in scoring. Despite the two of them scoring efficiently, the rest of the team couldn’t seem to match the pace, with no other starters getting into double figures.

Doncic was named the MVP of the series while Irving improved his record in closeout games in the playoffs to 15-1.

Dallas, who entered the postseason as the fifth seed in the West, will now have a full week to rest before the NBA Finals begin in Boston on June 6. This is the franchise’s first appearance in the Finals since winning the championship in 2011. The Celtics swept the Pacers earlier in the week and will have 10 days between their last game.

Boston will go in as favourites to the series with home-court advantage and only two losses under their belt this whole postseason. Many note however that the Celtics haven’t truly been tested this year, as many of the teams they ran into in the East were hampered by injuries. 

Either way, Dallas has proven they have what it takes to win at the highest level and the series should be one of the closer Finals in recent times.

Full Game Summary

Doncic started off the game like a man on a mission, hitting his first four shots and even talking trash with courtside fans with each basket. He dropped in a 32-footer late in the first quarter which capped a 17-1 spurt, which had them up 35-19 by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter didn’t bring the Timberwolves any respite, as the Mavs poured on the points, extending their lead to above 20. Anthony Edwards attempted to keep his team within striking distance but both Irving and Doncic would consistently hit timely shots to keep the lead intact. By halftime the Mavs were cruising past the Wolves with a 29 point lead.

Down 29 at home, the Wolves came out firing but so did the Mavericks. The lead grew to as many as 36 points before Minnesota finally found some momentum midway through the third to cut the lead down to 23. Towns specifically looked more aggressive, forcing the issue at the rim and hitting a timely three. 

Doncic and Irving on the other hand seemed to be taking their foot off the gas. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter and Dallas still took a healthy 97-73 lead into the last frame.

The last quarter, Dallas was able to maintain a solid lead with Irving being the main man down the stretch. Everytime Minnesota managed to pull within 20, Irving had an answer, making big shot after big shot. Eventually the Mavs emptied their bench when the game was out of reach for the Wolves with only 3 minutes to go. In the end, the Mavs won easily 124-103 to close the series 4-1 in their favor.

Dallas head coach Jason Kidd praised his team after the win but was quick to tell them that their job wasn’t done. Boston will likely be at full strength with big-man Kristaps Porziņģis back in the Celtics lineup come Game 1. If the Mavericks plan to cause the upset, they will need to bring their ‘A’ game on Thursday.