3 things to think about after the Mavericks beat the Timberwolves 109–108
3 things to think about after the Mavericks beat the Timberwolves 109–108

In the last three seconds, Luka Doncic made the game-winning shot.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were shocked when the Dallas Mavericks beat them 109–108. They came back from 18 points down to win on a Luka Doncic step-back with three seconds left. There were 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists for Doncic, who led the Mavericks. Naz Reid scored 23 points off the bench to help the Wolves lose. The Mavericks now have a 2-0 lead in the series as they head to Dallas.

Dallas was in trouble right away because Minnesota got them two fouls in the first five minutes of the game. Anthony Edwards seemed much more energized and ready to hit the paint. Doncic made a pair of early three-pointers that kept Dallas in the game even though they had a lot of fouls. One time, Karl-Anthony Towns got called for two fouls, which let Naz Reid in and he made two three-pointers in the frame. Coming off the bench, Derrick Lively and Jaden Hardy made important contributions that kept the game close. The Mavericks are behind the Timberwolves 32–26 after some terrible offensive misses and slip-ups.

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Early on, Dallas was down 12 points because their defense and rebounding were bad on several plays. Towns pushed Washington early on with post-ups and scored thanks to good defense.

When Reid made his fourth three of the game, it put the Wolves up 15 points and made Dallas call a timeout. Dallas coach Jason Kidd kept looking for backup guard minutes, giving Dante Exum and Tim Hardaway Jr. chances but not letting either of them make a difference. Dallas came back in the last three minutes of the second quarter, going on an 8-2 run to close the gap. Texas was behind 60–48 at the break.

Dallas made a lot of mistakes in the beginning of the second half, which let Minnesota get back ahead by 16. A look-ahead pass from Doncic to Lively helped cut the Wolves’ lead to 11 points before they took a break. Doncic did a crazy step back over McDaniels to cut the lead to nine points. He then made a short jump shot to cut it to six points. It took a Josh Green three for the Wolves to cut the lead to five after they came back from 10 down. Hardy scored two threes and a sweet dish right after coming off the bench to cut the lead to two points. A late Reid three-pointer gave Minnesota a seven-point lead again, and Dallas was behind 86–79 going into the last quarter.

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Kyrie Irving made the first three points of the series to help Dallas get going in the fourth. Washington scored in the post, and Kyrie made a second three. This gave the Mavericks their first lead since the beginning of the game. Both teams scored points, but Reid kept making threes, his sixth and seventh of the game, to keep Minnesota ahead with 6:36 left.

As the haymakers kept going back and forth, Gafford scored on back-to-back plays while blocking his fifth shot of the game. The Wolves took a three-point lead after Jones Jr. turned the ball over, but Dallas got within one on several occasions.

After a break around the three-minute mark, Dallas took the lead back, but the Wolves scored right away and got the rebound after two missed shots by the Mavericks. Once, Irving missed two free throws while Edwards made both of them. The next time the ball came around, Irving made a corner three.

The Mavericks had two chances to take the lead or tie the game when Dallas was behind 108–106. Doncic missed the first chance, and then Edwards lost the ball. There were 12 seconds left in the quarter. Doncic got the ball on the inbounds pass and sent it to Gobert on a switch. Gobert made his only three-point shot of the quarter. Naz Reid missed a shot that would have won the game, but Dallas beat the Wolves 109–108 to go up 2-0.

The best backcourt in the NBA

About 300 words have been written and erased about Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. They are the best backcourt in the NBA. I’m not sure what to say about these two artists. I thought Kyrie Irving would make a big play when the fourth quarter began. He came through with four made threes and great defense against Anthony Edwards. Luka Doncic missed his last two shots in the fourth quarter, but I thought he would do something amazing when he got the ball back with 12 seconds left. That’s what he did.

Both of them are great on their own. When Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving play together, it’s amazing. They make you believe that Dallas can’t lose.

As young players on the bench step up

During the playoffs, Jason Kidd has used his bench to give Irving and Doncic a break. Every so often, a different player has done just enough to get Dallas over the hump. In the second half of a very important game played away from home, both Jaden Hardy and Josh Green made huge plays that helped seal the deal.

Green played very badly in the first game. He made mistakes that could have cost Dallas the game. He made a big three-pointer late in the game, attacked the boards, and made the right pass to have a +15 plus-minus rating and lead the Mavericks in that category.

Jaden Hardy likes to go on adventures. When he made a great three-pointer in the first quarter, he knew he could make four more before the quarter was over. He had another chance to make a difference in the second half. This time, he read the passes correctly and made another big three as Dallas tried to get back into the game. Hardy is an interesting player, and the fact that he is making the most of his time on the field shows how confident he is. If Dallas wants to make it to the NBA Finals, they need that.

The center of everything

There is a Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star, and an All-Defensive Team player in the front court of the Dallas Mavericks. It is this front court that is making the difference in the game.

Even though they played the Wolves to a statistical tie, Dereck Lively and Daniel Gafford are doing very well in the Western Conference Finals after two games. It’s hard to pick out just one play, but Gafford has gotten back his “I’m going to make every shot” confidence from the regular season, and Lively looks like the best pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

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