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Luka Doncic Leads Mavericks Past Timberwolves In Game 5 To Reach NBA Finals

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Luka Doncic delivered a stellar performance with a 20-point first quarter, ultimately scoring 36 points, his highest in this postseason. Thursday night’s 124-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves allowed the Dallas Mavericks to secure the Western Conference finals in five games.

The Mavericks, led by Kyrie Irving with 36 points, also put the Timberwolves’ supporters under pressure early on. By halftime, they had established a commanding 29-point lead on 61% shooting. The Mavericks controlled the Timberwolves’ offense the entire game, extending their lead to 36 points in the third quarter.

The Mavericks, who are ranked fifth in the Western Conference, will get a week off before playing in their first NBA Finals since winning the title in 2011 while Jason Kidd was a player in Boston on June 6. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics, who swept Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, will have had a 10-day break before the finals.

The third-seeded Timberwolves gained a lead in points thanks to 28 points from Anthony Edwards and 12 rebounds from Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves had trouble against the dynamic duo of Doncic and Irving of the Mavericks, despite their earlier victories over Denver and Phoenix.

Irving’s record in closeout games during the playoffs increased to 15-1. Doncic set an early tone, starting 4 for 4 and making impressive long-range shots while engaging with the courtside fans. He continued his hot streak throughout the first quarter, helping the Mavericks establish a decisive lead.

This game marked Doncic’s second 20-point quarter in his postseason career, with the first being a 21-point quarter in the 2022 Western Conference finals against Golden State. Doncic, who shot 14 for 22 and grabbed 10 rebounds, was named the MVP of the series. Alongside him, Irving, a 2016 champion with Cleveland, showcased his experience and skill, leading the Mavericks to victory.

Doncic, 25, played with a constant sense of joy and confidence despite his repeated appeals to the officials. When fans taunted him with a “Flopper!” chant during free throws in the third quarter, Doncic responded with a smile and playfully mouthed the words.

The Mavericks welcomed back 7-foot-1 rookie Dereck Lively II, who returned from a sprained neck. Lively, along with Gafford, provided crucial rim protection, disrupting Rudy Gobert and other Timberwolves’ players in the post. Gafford scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Lively contributed nine points and eight rebounds.

Edwards was unable to maintain rhythm because of the defensive pressure applied by the Mavericks, even though he scored 25 points for the fifteenth time in 27 playoff games. The Timberwolves’ progress this season highlighted their need for a more cohesive championship offense.

The Timberwolves’ difficulties were highlighted by a number of frustrating possessions in the first half. As the second quarter ended, Edwards’ drive to the lane and subsequent pass led to a sequence of passes that ended with a shot clock violation, exemplifying their offensive challenges.

With twelve points to his name, P.J. Washington praised the Mavericks for yet another solid defensive performance that demonstrated their dominance throughout the entire game.

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