Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Final Score: Dallas VERB Minnesota, 108-105

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Final Score: Dallas VERB Minnesota, 108-105
Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Final Score: Dallas VERB Minnesota, 108-105

The Dallas Mavericks shocked the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-108, coming back from down 18 points to win on a Luka Doncic step back with three seconds remaining. Doncic led the Mavericks with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. Naz Reid scored 23 off the bench to lead the Wolves in defeat. The Mavericks take a commanding 2-0 series lead as the teams head to Dallas.

Minnesota took it to Dallas early, getting the Mavericks into the bonus with fouls in the first five minutes of the game. Anthony Edwards looked much more spry, attacking the paint with authority. Doncic connected on a pair of early threes to help keep Dallas in the mix despite the team’s foul trouble. Karl-Anthony Towns committed two fouls one possession which brought in Naz Reid who would hit two threes in the frame. Contributions off the bench from Derrick Lively and Jaden Hardy helped keep the game within striking distance. The Mavericks survived some awful misses and lapses offensively to trail the Timberwolves 32-26.

Dallas fell behind 12 early as their defense and rebounding fell apart on multiple possessions. Towns attacked Washington early with post-ups, scoring through solid defense. Reid’s fourth three of the game put the Wolves up 15 and forced a Dallas timeout. Dallas coach Jason Kidd continues to search for backup guard minutes with Dante Exum and Tim Hardaway Jr. getting chances and each failing to contribute. Dallas rallied some to close the second quarter, going on an 8-2 run in the final three minutes to close the gap some. Dallas trailed 60-48 at the half.

Mental mistakes plagued Dallas to start the second half, as Minnesota grew the lead back to 16. Look away passes from Doncic to Lively helped cut the lead to 11 before a Wolves timeout. Doncic cut the lead to single digits with a ridiculous step back over McDaniels then hit a short jumper to cut it down to six. The Wolves rallied back to 10 before a Josh Green three chopped the lead down to five. Hardy came off the bench to contribute a three and a sweet dish to cut the lead down to two points. A late Reid three lifted the Minnesota lead back to seven and Dallas trailed 86-79 entering the final quarter of play.

Kyrie Irving hit his first three of the series to get the scoring started for Dallas in the fourth. A second Kyrie three following a Washington post score gave the Mavericks their first lead since the first quarter. The teams traded baskets with Reid continuing to reign his sixth and seventh made threes of the game to keep Minnesota ahead with 6:36 remaining. The trading of haymakers continued, with Gafford scoring on back-to-back possessions while blocking his fifth shot of the game in between. After a Jones Jr. turnover, the Wolves built a three-point lead, but Dallas hung within one on multiple possessions. Dallas took the lead back after a timeout around the three-minute mark, but the Wolves scored immediately and got the rebound following two Maverick misses. Irving missed two free throws and Edwards hit both, only to turn around and connect on a corner three the next possession. With Dallas down 108-106, the Mavericks had two chances to take the lead or tie it. Doncic missed the first chance, only for Edwards to turn the ball over. With 12 seconds left, Doncic got the ball on the inbounds pass, and got Gobert on a switch where he drilled his only make of the fourth quarter from three. Naz Reid missed a game-winner and Dallas went up 2-0 on the Wolves, winning 109-108.

The best backcourt in the NBA

I’ve written and deleted about 300 words on Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. I don’t quite know what to say about these two magicians. When the fourth quarter started, I believed Kyrie Irving would come through. He answered the call with four made threes and fantastic defense on Anthony Edwards. Luka Doncic missed his other two shot attempts in the fourth quarter, but when he got the inbounds with 12 seconds left, I believed he would do something spectacular. He did just that.

These two are amazing on their own. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving together are special. They make you feel like Dallas is invincible.

Young bench players stepping up

Throughout these playoffs, Jason Kidd has looked to his bench to provide rest for Irving and Doncic. At different points, different players have done just enough to help Dallas get over the hump. On the road, in the second half of a very important game, both Jaden Hardy and Josh Green stepped up in a massive way to help seal the game.

Green had a rather disastrous game one, making the kind of mistakes that could’ve cost Dallas the game. He hit a huge three late in the game, attacked the boards, and made the right pass to lead the Mavericks in plus-minus as a +15.

Jaden Hardy is an adventure. In the first quarter he hit an awesome three and took that as the green light to get up four more shots before the quarter ended. In the second half he got a chance again to make a difference, where he made the correct reads on passes and hit another huge three with Dallas fighting to get back in the game. Hardy is a fascinating player and is making most of his minutes speaks to his confidence. Dallas needs that if they’re going to advance to the NBA Finals.

The center of it all

In a series which features a front court with a Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star, and an All-Defensive team player, it’s the front court of the Dallas Mavericks that’s making the difference in this series.

Despite battling the Wolves to what is essentially a statistical draw, Derek Lively and Daniel Gafford are coming up huge through two games in this Western Conference Finals. It’s difficult to highlight one single play, but it’s to the point now where Gafford has renewed his “I’m going to make every shot” confidence from the regular season and Lively is looking like the steal of the 2023 NBA Draft.

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