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Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves live scores and stats – May 30, 2024

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves live scores and stats – May 30, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Luka Doncic was in his element, firing shots from everywhere on the court, silencing the crowd and flashing those wicked smiles as the Dallas Mavericks put on a knockout performance.

Now one of the global sports stars is making his first trip to the NBA Finals.

Doncic scored 20 points in the first quarter en route to a postseason-high 36 points, and the Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-103 on Thursday night to advance to the Western Conference Finals in five games.

“He told his teammates it was time and they had to take it seriously,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He sent the invitees, and they all came.”

Kyrie Irving also scored 36 points for the Mavericks, who led by 29 points in the first half with 61% shooting, to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd before most fans woke up for the first snack break. The Mavs went up by 36 points in the third quarter, consistently keeping the Timberwolves’ offense at bay.

“I had that utmost confidence when I went to sleep last night and went to shoot this morning, and I felt like we were going to play one of our best games,” Irving said.

The Mavs, ranked No. 5 in the West, have a full week to rest before the start of the NBA Finals in Boston on June 6 for the franchise’s first appearance since winning the championship in 2011 when Kidd played for them. The Celtics will have 10 days between games after sweeping Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Anthony Edwards scored 28 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the third-seeded Wolves, who faced the defensive duo of Doncic and Irving after crushing Phoenix in the first round and then overthrowing the defense. Denver champion in a seven-game series.

“We never came together as a team in this series, not even in one game,” Edwards said. “In the last two series, we were all clicking at once, shooting shots and stuff. It wasn’t clicking at once here.

Irving improved to 15-1 in his career in playoff appearances.

Doncic set a defiant tone by starting 4-for-4, hitting rainbow shots from 28 and 31 feet while turning to inappropriately talk to fans on the court with every swish.

“It keeps me going. Everyone knows that now,” Doncic said.

He drained a 32-footer later in the first quarter as the Mavs closed out a 17-1 spurt, a run they pushed to 28-5 over nine minutes.

“I thought I put up a good enough block, and I turned around and he shot it from half court,” midfielder Daniel Gafford said.

It was Doncic’s second 20-point quarter of his postseason career, following a 21-point fourth quarter in a Western Conference Finals loss to Golden State in 2022. He was voted MVP of the series.

Doncic, who shot 14 for 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and his smart sidekick Irving, who has a championship ring since 2016 with Cleveland, were the breakout stars of the series as this Wolves team found its first taste of an ongoing postseason series. Bitter – but perhaps ultimately useful -.

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“You can’t skip any steps. The West is going to be a monster next year, like every year. We did a lot of things well this year,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “I’m very proud of our guys. Just building another layer of foundation to try to get where we want to go.

Although he made a familiar, persistent wave of his arms at the referees almost every time the final whistle did not reach his goal, the 25-year-old Doncic played with unwavering confidence and unwavering joy from start to finish. Fans also taunted him with a “flop!” When he hit free throws in the third quarter, Doncic smiled and quipped along with them.

The Mavs got 7-foot-1 rookie Dereck Lively II back from a neck sprain that sidelined him the previous game, and get back a complete rim protection duo with Gafford that helped them disrupt Rudy Gobert in the post and almost everyone else who tried to attack the basket. Gafford had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Lively added nine points and eight rebounds.

Although Edwards reached the 25-point mark for the 15th time in 27 career playoff games, he had trouble finding his rhythm amid all the double teams. The Wolves were reminded that, despite the progress they have made this season, they have no championship offense yet despite his dynamic skills and clutch mentality.

They had so many possessions in a crucial first half that the coaches had trouble finding a group that could play in sync together.

As the final seconds of the second quarter ticked away, Edwards drove to the lane and kicked the ball to the corner to Kyle Anderson, who passed it back to Towns on the wing and failed to find the look he liked. He passed the ball back to Anderson, who tried to get close to him and his shot clock ran out.

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P.J. Washington, who had 12 points, folded his arms in celebration of another stifling defensive sequence by the Mavs.

They won the series. They got the series. They deserve the series. Congratulations to them and all their staff. “They were led by two world-class players who played at a world-class level,” Finch said.

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